Deadly tornadoes hit Florida

The Sunshine State has been struck by a series of storms that killed two people.

    The southern states of the US are frequently hit by strong tornadoes [EPA]
    The southern states of the US are frequently hit by strong tornadoes [EPA]

    Severe thunderstorms and at least three confirmed tornadoes have swept through Florida.

    Two people have been killed and four others injured. The dead and injured were in their mobile home in Duette, Manatee County, 90km southeast of Tampa, when the tornado struck early on Sunday.

    The EF2-rated tornado, with winds between 178 and 217 kilometres per hour, is reported to have cut a swath of damage 100m wide, across a 15km stretch of the county.

    The four injured are all children but their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

    The fatalities are the first tornado-related deaths in Florida since those that occurred during Tropical Cyclone Debby in 2012.

    One Minute El Nino

    Another EF2 tornado was reported in Sarasota County. Here, winds of 212km/h cased damage along a 1.5km strip. A provisional estimate by the Sarasota Fire Rescue service was that 45 properties had suffered more than $3m in damage.

    The southern limit of the storms was Naples, 250km south of Tampa.

    Although tornadoes in Florida are most frequent during the summer and autumn months, they are not unusual during January.

    An average of three twisters occur during January, although as a result of the ongoing El Nino, they are more likely to occur.

    This is because of the above-average sea temperatures in the region and a more southerly-positioned jet stream.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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