Home > Florida, tornado > Broward tornado hit up to 90 mph wind speed, weather service says

Broward tornado hit up to 90 mph wind speed, weather service says

August 4, 2011

sun-sentinel

TAMARAC —

A twister that tore through a mile of Tamarac and North Lauderdale on Tuesday hit a maximum wind speed of 90 mph, the National Weather Service said on Wednesday.

No serious injuries were reported, most of the damage was mild to moderate, and the wind speed was on the low end of a tornado-strength scale. Still, as repairs loomed large, some residents called it a disaster.

“Even Wilma wasn’t this bad in this neighborhood,” said Tony Greco, of Tamarac, referring to the 2005 hurricane that caused widespread damage across South Florida

The Tamarac home Greco lives in was OK, but a second home he owns in the city, on the 6700 block of Northwest 70th Street, was deemed uninhabitable. His tenants had to leave and are reportedly staying with relatives, said city spokesman Chad Quinn.

The tenant was with her child and an assistant during the twister, and phoned Greco as she sought shelter in the house, he said.

No one was hurt, but the Florida room was destroyed, part of the roof was lifted from its base, and the front windows were blown out, leaving glass shards throughout the living room.

She was “all excited,” Greco recalled. “She was laying on the kitchen floor with her daughter and her aide.”

Tamarac officials passed out 12 blue tarps to affected residents, Quinn said.

A home in Margate sustained minor damage from a tree falling on it, said Margate Division Chief Dan Booker. City officials in Tamarac and North Lauderdale said they were able to do plenty of cleanup work Tuesday night, removing debris from roadways and canals.

The tornado first touched down about 5 p.m. in the Tamarac area. It flew across parts of Tamarac and North Lauderdale, just north of McNab Road and east of University Drive, Dan Gregoria, a lead weather service forecaster, said in a report assessing the aftermath.

The twister damaged several homes, downing trees and littering streets with tree branches, mailboxes and trash cans. Gregoria and meteorologist Robert Molleda did a survey and concluded the damage path was an estimated 270 feet wide and spanned a mile.

“Any time you see a home with a lot of damage, your heart reaches out to those people,” Molleda said on Tuesday. “It must be really tough.”

With Tropical Storm Emily still a close call for South and Central Florida, scattered and isolated thunderstorms were forecast throughout the week. Molleda didn’t rule out the possibility of more tornadoes.

“Any time there’s strong thunderstorms, there’s always that chance, even if it’s not a high possibility,” Molleda said.

Most tornadoes in South Florida are small, weak and short-lived, compared to the twisters more common in the Plains and Midwest, whose wind speeds may exceed 200 mph, meteorologists say.

Most of the damage in Broward was in the lowest category of a tornado-strength scale, from winds ranging from 65 mph to 85 mph, the weather service said. However, some isolated damage was consistent with 90 mph winds, a higher strength category.

The tornado developed after the boundaries of two thunderstorms collided over Broward. The boundaries were generated by rain-cooled air spreading from the downdraft of the thunderstorms, according to Gregoria.

With such collisions, there can be “enough ‘spin’ and lift to cause the formation of a tornado, and such was the case on this day,” Gregoria wrote.

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