A Night of Tornadoes

Awakened by tornado warnings on our cell phones last night (just before 3AM), we turned on the TV and watched as a twister raked Siesta Key and moved northeastward through Metro Sarasota; three others followed in its wake but were less intense than the first.

The severe weather developed ahead of a potent cold front and were fueled, in part, by a strong subtropical jet stream, an atmospheric feature associated with El Nino.  Indeed, while most Florida tornadoes occur during the annual hurricane season (June to November), the strongest tend to develop during the winter months, especially in El Nino years.

Here on Longboat Key, we received heavy rain last night and continue to experience strong northwesterly winds behind the cold front this morning.  Fortunately, we escaped the brunt of the storms and were treated to a spectacular light show across Sarasota Bay as they moved onshore.  Unfortunately, at least two individuals were killed by the tornadoes.