Severe storms produce tornadoes, straight-line winds and a meteotsunami, Florida

Severe storms produce tornadoes, straight-line winds and a meteotsunami, Florida

Several rounds of severe storms hit Florida on Thursday, December 20, 2018, producing heavy rain, several tornadoes, straight-line winds and a meteotsunami.

According to Paso County Emergency Management, up to 80 mobile homes were damaged by straight-line winds in Florida's Zephyrhills on Thursday morning. Authorities said that first responders were overwhelmed with damage. Five of the homes were deemed unsafe.


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At least four EF-0 tornadoes were reported in west-central Florida, but there was no significant damage reported. However, a 90-year-old woman was seriously injured in Polk County when one of the tornadoes caused the roof of her condominium to collapse, striking her on the head.

In Manatee County near Tampa, Debbie Rhodden and her family hunkered down as a tornado tore through their neighborhood, toppling trees and destroying roofs. "It was quite frightening. It was scary it was extremely quick. We could have been killed. Very lucky," she said.

The storms also produced at least one meteotsunami, a relatively rare meteorological phenomenon. According to Fort Myers meteorologists, swells produced by it flooded parts of Sanibel Island in southwest Florida without causing any injuries.

Heavy rains caused localized flooding on one of the worst travel days of the season. 

Sarasota recorded 101.6 mm (4 inches) of rain on Thursday while Orlando received 76.2 mm (3 inches), more than the city usually records during the entire month of December.

Featured image: Meteotsunami, Florida on December 20, 2018.

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