1998 Kissimmee tornado outbreak

1998 Kissimmee tornado outbreak

The 1998 Kissimmee tornado outbreak of February 22 - 23, 1998, was the deadliest tornado event in Florida history. Forty-two people were killed and 260 were injured; seven tornadoes were involved in the event. The previous record for the highest tornado death toll in Florida history was 17 on March 31, 1962.

The first tornado of the outbreak came at around 11:40 pm in Lake County, Florida. Three were killed in this tornado. The most notable tornado of the night was an F3 that hit in Kissimmee, where twenty five were killed. Another F3 hit in Seminole County, Florida, near Sanford and Volusia County, Florida, killing 13. The last tornado of the night hit in Brevard County, Florida.

The tornadoes were strong due to an abnormally strong jet stream with warm, humid air out ahead of the cold front. This is common in the El Niño phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) during the Florida dry season (November 1 - April 30). [ [http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/enso/sls20-13.3.html Development Of An Index Of Storminess As A Proxy For Seasonal Severe Storms ] ] During EL Nino the jet stream is typically stronger and further south near or over Florida in the winter and spring. This greatly increases the odds that conditions will be favorable for strong tornado development. [ [http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/enso/sls19paper10-1.html Significant Extratropical Tornado Occurrences in Florida During Strong El Nino and Strong La Nina Events ] ] . The controversy surrounding this outbreak resulted from attempts to try to correlate specific tornadoes with El Nino. There are a number of reasons why a tornado may or may not occur, or be reported, that have nothing to do with Pacific SSTs. A better approach is to focus on the development of atmospheric conditions that might produce tornadoes and severe weather. [ [http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/enso/ensoeducational38.htm ENSO and Florida Dry and Wet Season storminess rainfall and severe weather predictability educational material ] ] . A novel approach to enhancing El Nino preparedness in Florida is to concentrate on "Storminess" or the increase in extratropical cyclones effecting Florida that might spawn severe weather in El Nino dry seasons. [ [http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/enso/enso-storminess.html NWS Melbourne's El Nino Forecast for Florida ] ] An experimental forecast of Florida storminess based on Pacific SST's has been developed. [ [http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/enso/mlbnino.html NWS Melbourne's El Nino Forecast for Florida ] ] Studies that look at yearly tornado reports and Pacific SST's show no relationship between El Niño and United States tornado activity and a weak relationship for Florida. [ [http://www.spc.noaa.gov/publications/schaefer/el_nino.htm Schaefer/Tatom El Nino & tornadoes paper (19th SLSC) ] ]

Tornado table

Confirmed tornadoes

ee also

*List of North American tornadoes and tornado outbreaks
*Central Florida Tornado of February 2007


External links

* [http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/wbstorms/3meso.html The Central Florida Tornado Outbreak of February 22nd & 23rd, 1998] (NWS Melbourne, FL)
* [http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/assessments/pdfs/cntrlfl.pdf NWS Service Assessment]
* [http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/misc/980222.html Satellite imagery] (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
* [http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/swat/Cases/980223/case.html Case Study:Central Florida Tornadoes] (National Severe Storms Laboratory)
* [http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/svr98b.html "Multifaceted General Overview of the East Central Florida Tornado Outbreak of 22-23 February 1998] (National Weather Service)
* [http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/sep98/Chronology.htm Timeline of watches and warnings]

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