Weather Whys: Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Spring Tornadoes in Florida

Florida is no stranger when it comes to tornadoes. They can strike our state any time of year and are most common during the summertime, but the stronger tornadoes are likely to occur during the Spring.

TAMPA, Fla. – Florida is no stranger to tornadoes. They can affect our state all year round and are most common in the summer. Summer tornadoes are generally very weak and are generally EF-0 rated. Many of these tornadoes are water spouts that move on land and fall apart fairly quickly.

Tornadoes that threaten Tampa Bay during the late winter and spring months can be a bit spicy. This is due to a collision of air masses and strong top-level winds that are fueled by the jet stream. Strong cold fronts from the north still pass through Florida during the spring months. The cold, dry air collides with the warm, moist air that often leads to thunderstorms. These storms tend to form a storm line across the Gulf of Mexico and sweep the west coast of Florida. Often these lines produce tornadoes, often at night. These tornadoes can be stronger and last longer than summer tornadoes produced along a sea breeze.

While Florida receives more tornadoes per 10,000 square miles than any other state, they tend to be weak and cause minimal damage. Most of our tornadoes occur in the summer, especially in June. Summer tornadoes are usually generated by thunderstorms that form along a sea breeze. These tornadoes last only a few minutes and are generally EF-0 rated.

Tropical systems can also generate tornadoes around our area. The best chance for this is during the fall season, where Tampa becomes most susceptible to tropical systems. A recent example of a tropical tornado was during Nestor in October, when an Ef-2 tornado was tracked by Polk County and caused major damage to some communities such as Kathleen.

The big takeaway is that tornadoes can hit Tampa Bay all year round. The stronger tornadoes hit our area during the late winter and spring months, often at night. A recent example of this was in early February when a tornado ran 9 miles across Pinellas County, where a house collapsed and one person was injured.

Whenever severe weather threatens Tampa Bay, it’s always good to have a plan and know what to do if a tornado warning is issued for your area.

Here are the top 5 things to know about Florida Tornadoes:

  1. Tornadoes can occur all year round.
  2. Most tornadoes are EF-0, water spouts that move on land.
  3. Stronger tornadoes are likely to occur between February and April, usually within a rainfall line and can strike at night.
  4. Most tornadoes occur in June, but are generally weak.
  5. Florida has the greatest frequency of tornadoes per 10,000 square miles than any other state.