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Florida Tornado Season

April 17, 2023
by ChristinaV | For Seniors

Florida Tornado Season

If Seniors Helping Seniors can help you in any way, please call (772) 492-8381

Florida tornado season generally occurs during the summer months (June to September) when colliding sea breezes and tropical cyclones hit the state, and in spring (February to May) when supercells merge with other nearby storms to form a squall.  In the United States, colliding sea breezes only occur in Florida since it is the only state surrounded by two large bodies of water (Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico).

Tornados are violently swirling masses of air that extend from aerial thunderstorms to the earth’s surface.  They can produce powerful winds, ranging from 40 to over 300 mph and can contain hail, dust, and debris.  When they reach ground, they are capable of causing severe damage to properties and infrastructure, injuries, and loss of life.

Tornadoes can happen at any time of day but are more likely to occur during mid-afternoon to late evening, usually between 3:00 to 9:00 PM.  These are the warmest times of the day, which provide the lift needed for the development of severe thunderstorms.

Be on alert during these seasons.  There are several warning systems that can be downloaded to one’s cell phone that will inform you of an approaching tornado.  Keep your phone’s “Wireless Emergency Notifications” turned on to receive warnings, even if you are sleeping.

Know the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning:

  • A Tornado Watch means a tornado is expected to form but has not formed yet.  It is during this time that you should be preparing to take shelter if need be.
  • A Tornado Warning means that a tornado has already formed, and you should take cover immediately. The average warning time is only 13 minutes, so get to safety right away.

Have a tornado preparedness plan for yourself and your family.  Decide upon the safest place to seek shelter in your home and design an evacuation plan with more than one exit.  Practice this plan a couple of times a year.

Take photos of your home and valuables. If a tornado causes damage to your home, you’ll want to show the before and after photos to substantiate your claim.


  • As soon as a tornado warning is issued, seek shelter immediately and tune in to your local radio station.  The general rule of thumb is to shelter yourself in an interior room (preferably a storm room, cellar, or basement) where there are NO windows or exterior doors.
  • If Indoors:

Get inside a safe room, basement, or storm shelter.  If you don’t have a basement or storm shelter, go to an interior room on the lowest level of the building you are in (restroom, hallway, pantry) where there are no windows.

Bring your pets with you if you are able to grab them in time.

Stay away from windows, exterior doors, and garage doors. These are some of the most vulnerable parts of a home and extremely dangerous.

If possible, get under a heavy table or object to protect yourself from flying debris.

Crouch to the ground and cover your head and neck.  If you have a heavy blanket or fluffy pillow, use them to protect yourself.

If you are in a mobile home and have time during a tornado watch, find a safer structure to shelter in.  Mobile homes are extremely vulnerable to tornado damage.

  • If Outdoors:

             Seek shelter inside a sturdy building in a room without windows.

If you cannot get to a building, get as far away as possible from trees.

Lie down flat against the ground and if you are near a ditch, tuck yourself in it.

Protect your head and neck to prevent getting hit by flying debris.

  • In a car, bus, or truck:

Experts recommend that you do not try to outdrive a tornado, but if there’s a clear path in the opposite direction, make a break for it.

If surrounded by the thunderstorm, pull over immediately and take shelter in the nearest building.

If you cannot find a building, get away from the vehicle and lie flat on the ground or in a ditch where there are no trees. Protect your head and neck.

  • After the tornado passes:

If there is a lot of damage to your home, shut off the utilities and have a professional inspection prior to turning them back on.

Stay away from downed power lines- they may still be charged.

Do not walk in or near puddles and flooded areas.

Do not sift through the rubble without protective gear due to broken glass, debris, nails, metal scraps, etc.


  • Your tornado kit essentials should already be stored in the place wherever you plan to take shelter.
  • Purchase a NOAA weather radio which will give you the most current information.  If you don’t want a radio, you can download the app.
  • Have enough drinking water to keep everyone in your home hydrated for a minimum of 72 hours and as many as 14 or more days.  It’s not possible to tell how quickly emergency assistance will be able to restore water service.
  • There may not be a shortage of actual water but may be a shortage of drinking water so have a water purification kit.
  • Have enough canned, freeze dried, or other non-spoilable food to last 72 hours to over 14 days.  If you have cans, have a manual can opener.
  • Plasticware, including plates, cups, and cutlery.
  • Several large trash bags for cleanup and to keep items dry.
  • A first aid kit that includes supplies to treat minor wounds and keep larger wounds under control until help arrives.
  • Medication - prescriptions and meds to help ease pain and inflammation associated with the drop in atmospheric pressure.
  • Waterproof gear and clothing that includes heavy-duty waterproof boots, jackets, pants, and an extra set of warm clothes.
  • A headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries: A headlamp is convenient because it’s hand-free.
  • Heavy blankets and fluffy pillows: When you take cover, you’ll want to protect yourself with a heavy blanket or pillow in case debris falls on top of you.
  • Wet wipes are essential for quick sanitation when a shower is impossible.
  • Important documents in a sealed waterproof container.
  • Supplies for babies, elderly, and disabled who may be with you.  Remember to have a week’s supply of prescription medication and take into consideration dietary needs and such.
  • Pet food and extra water if you have a pet(s).


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