December Tornado Risk

Nearing the end of November and the end of hurricane season, our tornado risk begins to increase slightly.  During December, most of our rain, storm activity and potential severe weather occurs near and along cold fronts pushing through Florida.

The most likely risk area for Florida lies in the Panhandle (near Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach), with a larger risk area across east Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.  However, if the dynamics are just right, we can have December tornadoes here in Central Florida. On Christmas Day, 2006, Central Florida experienced a tornado outbreak from Lake County into Volusia County.  The Leesburg tornado had estimated winds of 70mph (F-0) and damaged a number of manufactured homes.  The DeLand tornado had estimated winds of 120mph-150mph (F-2) with considerable damage to two mobile home parks.  The Daytona Beach tornado (F-2, 120mph winds) touched down and caused significant damage near the Daytona Beach International Airport, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and the Sutton Apartments.  While sixteen people were injured, miraculously there was no loss of life from any of the three tornadoes.  You can read the National Weather Service field report and see photographs from this tornado outbreak here