Tornado Hits South West Florida As Cooler Weather Sweeps In – Causes Estimated $500K Damage in 2 Hours

Toby Hazlewood

December tornadoes evidence of climate change?

As the holidays approach, many are dreaming of a white Christmas - but in Florida, a change to colder weather has been preceded by an EF1 tornado. It struck south west Florida, near Fort Myers early in the morning of December 21 and follows on from the extreme tornadoes that wreaked havoc across other states earlier this month.

Many are claiming that the storms provide further evidence of serious climate change and a pressing need to take action to prevent further damage to the environment. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are more measured, but have stated that warmer winters will make winter tornadoes more common in future.

Limited damage

Estimates from the National Weather Service, whose storm survey team recognized the storm as a tornado, suggest that winds reached speeds of up to 95 miles per hour. The tornado touched the ground for just over a mile and for about two minutes. Damage was fortunately limited to a few snapped trees and some damage to signs and roofs on nearby properties and no lives were lost.

It is in stark contrast to the more serious tornados seen in various states earlier this month.

$105 billion of tornado damage

December 10 and 11 saw unusually vicious late-season tornadoes that struck various states including Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky which suffered the worst of the damage. The EF4 tornado - the most serious on the scale of measurement - was the deadliest December tornado on record.

Winds reached 190 miles per hour and there have been 89 confirmed deaths due to the tornado. Insurers estimate the bill for damage caused to have reached $105 billion.

While Florida is more accustomed to dealing with the threat of hurricanes, residents of the state will no doubt feel grateful that the early December tornado didn't threaten the state. Residents of Fort Myers have seen first hand however, that tornadoes can still strike Florida from time-to-time. Fortunately nobody was seriously injured or killed.

What's the most extreme weather you've experienced? Are you dreaming of a white Christmas or are you happy to enjoy Florida's usual weather for the holidays? Let me know in the comments section below.

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