Spring storms have severe history in early May

Central Florida recalls 1994 tornado in Ormond Beach

Stay weather aware: Severe storms possible in Central Florida
Stay weather aware: Severe storms possible in Central Florida

May in Central Florida is a transition period with the dry season coming to an end and the wet season arriving.

While the wet season doesn’t arrive until the end of the month, that doesn’t mean it won’t rain at all. In fact, late season cold front storms really pack a punch like the statewide outbreak on May 3, 1994.

Severe weather of all types swept through the sunshine state. There were twenty-six reports ranging from severe thunderstorms, lightning, hail, waterspouts, funnel clouds, and even tornadoes.

This map shows the average number of tornadoes by state each year. Florida averages 66 a year for the time period shown in the data collection. (NOAA)

That day the biggest event that happened in the state was right here in Central Florida. A tornado touched down in Volusia County near Interstate 95 and Highway 40 in Ormond Beach. As is moved quickly east it got stronger destroying 150 mobile homes and damaging 125 others in the Holiday Village mobile home park. Luckily, no one was severely injured, but the damages cost a whopping $10 million.

Further south in Palm Beach County, reports of hail came flooding in. The largest hail stone that fell that day was up to 3 inches which is around the size of a large apple. Severe weather that day did cause a few injuries in St. Lucie and Martin counties. Two firefighters were sent to the hospital after lightning struck the side of their truck while fighting a brush fire that was sparked by lightning during the severe weather outbreak.

So far in 2020, eight people have died from a lightning strike nationwide, one of those happened in Florida. (WKMG)

Lightning is one of the top three leading causes of wildfires in the state among arson and escaped debris burning. It’s also the one of the most deadly weather hazards in the state with 70-100 days a year reporting at least one thunderstorm.


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