Daweathablog

Charles E. Roop giving his own forecasts, weather discussions, photos and adventures for the Starkville, MS area, Florida, and beyond.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Quick Overview: Plantation/Sunrise, Fla. Tornado

On Tuesday night (Oct. 18), an interesting weather pattern was setting up in south Florida. At the same time, I was watching the town hall session at the National Weather Association annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama.

When me, Dan Goff, and 100+ meteorologists were listening on to what some of the general public thought about the warnings and the societal reactions to the April 27 tornado outbreak, I was checking my Twitter feed and discovered something interesting. The National Weather Service in Miami issued a tornado warning for parts of Monroe and western Miami-Dade counties. The storm was racing off to the northeast over the Everglades. It was far from the major metro areas along the east coast - I considered it an "alligator" storm.

The storms across south Florida had the potential to rotate and possibly spawn a few tornadoes. The Storm Prediction Center had issued tornado watches for the area and has issued several mesoscale discussions (such as this one and this one). 

At 8:30 p.m. ET, the rotation seems to intensify on the velocity scan (see below). Dan and I were pretty amazed on how good it looked on radar. It looked like it was still an alligator storm, if not a tornado on the ground. I started to become concerned about this storm if it continued at its current strength toward northern Miami-Dade or southern Broward counties.

Screenshot of KAMX velocity tilt 1 scan using RadarScope on iOS 5.

Over time, the storm moved in a northerly direction and began to lose its impressive velocity signature.



However, NWS-Miami issues another tornado warning for parts of Broward.





Reports of damage start to flow in from the Plantation and Sunrise area of damage from a possible tornado at roughly 10:07 p.m. ET, according to NWS-Miami's storm assessment (PDF). About 4 minutes before the tornado was thought to have initiated, a scan from the Miami radar shows some possible rotation with the velocity scan (top right), while the storm relative (bottom left) shows slight rotation. The spectrum width (SW) (bottom right), which is used to essentially measure turbulence and associated with thunderstorms and mesovoritcies. 



The storm continues to move off to the northeast for 1.11 miles doing a max of EF-2 damage with maximum winds of 120 mph. It aslo continues to lose its appearance on the Miami radar.

THE TORNADO BEGAN AT NW 135TH AVENUE AND NW 3RD STREET IN PLANTATION AND ENDED AT NW 13TH STREET AND NW 133RD AVENUE IN SUNRISE. DAMAGE THROUGHOUT MOST OF THE PATH WAS OF EF-1 INTENSITY WITH WINDS OF 95-110 MPH. MORE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE WAS SEEN OVER A SMALL PORTION OF THE PATH, BETWEEN 8TH AND 10TH STREET JUST WEST OF 133RD AVENUE, AND WAS RATED AS EF-2 WITH A MAXIMUM WIND ESTIMATED AT 120 MPH.  
UP TO 50 HOMES WERE DAMAGED ALONG THE TORNADO'S PATH WITH DAMAGE TO ROOFS, GARAGE DOORS, AND WINDOWS. AT LEAST A DOZEN HOMES HAD  SIGNIFICANT TO SEVERE DAMAGE. ROOFS OF TWO HOMES WERE COMPLETELY REMOVED. TWO TRAILER HOMES WERE SHIFTED OFF THEIR FOUNDATIONS WITH MOST OF THE WALLS COLLAPSED. ONLY A FEW MINOR INJURIES WERE REPORTED, CONSISTING OF CUTS AND BRUISES.

The NWS in Miami gave ample warning for this storm as it had a history of showing rotation on radar, especially over the Everglades. Based on the stories told by the local media, it's great news that there were few injuries and no deaths associated with this tornado in a highly populated area.

With all the talk that Tuesday night in Birmingham of how people reacted from the April 27 outbreak, I wonder if anyone in the area received these warnings and how they prepared for it, especially since it was a tornado that arrived after dark. 

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