|Published:||Jul 03, 2012 3:02 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 03, 2012 3:02 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Debris litters the four mile path of an EF-2 tornado through Venus in southern Highlands county. With estimated peak wind speeds of 120 miles per hour, the tornado killed a 32 year old mother, who was trying to protect her three year old daughter. The two were thrown 200 feet from their home. The toddler survived.
Unlike the Venus tornado, most twisters in southwest Florida are weak and produce minimal damage, lasting no more than a few minutes.
"We don't get a lot of the big tornadoes that you see in the Midwest, but any tornado is dangerous. Even an EF-0 tornado can produce winds of 70-80 miles per hour, which is definitely dangerous and definitely causes damage," says Warning Coordination Meteorologist Robert Molleda.
These weak tornadoes are more common than you think. According to NOAA, 66 tornadoes on average touch down in the Sunshine State every year, the THIRD most active state in the country, falling in behind Texas and and Kansas. While most are spawned by near-daily thunderstorms during the rainy season, tornadoes can occur any time of the year, day or night.
Consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio, a direct line to the National Weather Service. Programmed to your specific county, this radio will alert you of impending severe weather. If the power is out or if you're asleep, this radio may be the ONLY way you get a severe weather warning.
"Really the NOAA weather radio can and has saved lives in other parts of the country and can here as well," says Molleda.
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