I chose to do my case study on the 1998 Kissimmee, Florida tornado outbreak. Starting in the late-night hours of February 22 and going into the early morning of February 23, 1998, Kissimme Florida experienced a tornado outbreak that ended up being the deadliest tornado event in Florida history. Between approximately 11 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. of February 22 and 23 seven tornadoes tore through east-central Florida killing 42 people and injuring more than 260 others. . Moving eastward from a surface low pressure located near Mobile, Alabama, was a cold front moving south eastward over the Gulf of Mexico with a line of thunderstorms just ahead of the frontal boundary. Three supercell thunderstorms formed as the storm line moved ashore from the Gulf of Mexico and interacted with the unstable air and strong wind shear. Seven unusually strong tornadoes were produced as these supercell thunderstorms moved across Florida. What made this such a devastating event was that these tornadoes struck at night when people are usually sleeping. Local officials did issue warnings, but with people turning off their televisions and radios to go to sleep they missed the warnings. Most of the fatalities from this event were people that live in mobile home parks or RV parks. Of the 42 deaths caused by the tornadoes, 40 of them were in recreational vehicles, one was in car, and one was in a permanent structure. The population did not seem to be prepared for these types of storms despite the warnings that were issued.
The local emergency management officials issued timely warnings, even before tornadoes were formed, but as I said earlier most people were asleep at the time or just ignored the warnings. However the local forecasters were able to call law enforcement and emergency management personnel directly to impart the seriousness of these storms. Because of this response time was very good, and local residents generally were pleased with the efforts of the emergency response. Warehouses were set up to accommodate the belongings that survivors had left after the storms. According to FEMA $22 million of federal funding was given to victims of the outbreak, the greatest dollar amount went towards small business loans. The rest of the funding went towards debris clean up, water and public utility reconstruction, public building, roads and bridges, and individual and family grants.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management has a Hazard Mitigation Planning section of their Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. However while looking through the plan I saw nothing about tornado mitigation, it seems that Florida is still more concerned with the hazards that come with hurricanes than they are about tornadoes. Many people are still living in Mobile Homes, which are very dangerous during tornado events, and many of them have admitted to knowing very little about what actions to take is another tornado threatens their area. There doesn’t seem to be very much done for mitigation against tornadoes in Florida, I think this is because Florida experiences a lot of hurricanes and they are surrounded by water so they are more worried about flooding. Florida seems to be very lacking in their tornado mitigation policies.
During and after severe thunderstorm events, flooding will be a major threat over thousands of square miles for states in the central US. A general 3-6 inches of rain will fall from parts of the southern Plains to the middle Mississippi Valley this weekend. Widespread flash, urban, and small river floods are likely throughout the area. The ground is saturated and river and stream levels are already high because of prior rainfall. “Heavy rain and thunderstorms will form a train over the St. Louis area this weekend, increasing the threat of flooding,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Dean DeVore. A surge of water is also expected on the middle and lower Mississippi river and the lower part of the Ohio River next week.
In a rarity, more than 300 homes and almost an entire town was destroyed by an apparent tornado. The tornado destroyed 80 percent of the homes in a German settlement Colonia Neufeld in Caazapá and about 70 percent of the homes in the settlement of Loma Hovy were destroyed. Paraguay’s meteorology agency has not confirmed that the damage was from a tornado but said wind were between 90 and 125 miles per hour. No fatalities or injuries were reported after the storm.
Raleigh North Carolina has experienced record setting rainfall for the past few days causing major flooding in the Raleigh area. A body was found in the Neuse River near Raleigh on Tuesday April 25. Transportation officials said that there have been over 100 road closures throughout the state. One of the hardest hit areas is Crabtree creek which is just north of downtown Raleigh. Water rose over 17 feet in 24 hours, entering businesses and homes. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for Wake County, NC due to the numerous flooded roads. According to the Associated Press around 2,700 people were without power as of Tuesday morning.
Violent storms and flash flooding will strike the south-central United States from late Friday to through Sunday and may hit some neighborhoods at night. The storms happening at night drastically increases the vulnerability of the people in those areas. These storms could include heavy rain, large hail, tornadoes, and high winds. “The most dangerous aspect from this particular severe weather event will be for powerful, nocturnal thunderstorms Friday night and Saturday night,” according to AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Richard Schraeger. Some locations from the southern plains to the middle and lower Mississippi valley will be hit by excessive rainfall that could cause flash flooding.
April 20th marked the hottest April day for New Delhi since 2010 with temperatures reaching 109.8 F at Safdarjung Airport and 112.8 F at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The heat is expected to fade a bit early this week but will return later in the week. Temperatures of 100-105 F are expected in New Delhi through Thursday. Heat waves happen every year in India but the early onset and persistence of this heat wave is very worrisome. Millions of residents and animals are at risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Real relief from the heat isn’t expected until early June when the Monsoon season arrives.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s report on April 18 34% of the state of Florida is experiencing severe drought conditions. Officials said that more than 2,000 homes would need to be evacuated. There are 2 wildfires burning in the eastern part of Collier County. One that has burned almost 5,000 acres and is 10% contained and the other has burned 350 acres and is at least 60% contained. Florida Governor Rick Scott has deployed the Florida National Guard Resources to respond and assist with evacuations, emergency management and firefighting. Rain showers and thunder storms are expected in the area this weekend so that should help with the drought and wildfires.