Thursday, 27 January 2011
The Florida Keys are home to a vulnerable population at risk to the hazards associated with tropical cyclones. These hazards include storm surge, damaging winds, flooding rains, and tornadoes. Tornadoes associated with tropical cyclones have, on occasion, caused injuries and structural damage in the Florida Keys. For example, outer rainband tornadoes associated with Hurricane Agnes (1972) affected several Florida Keys communities, injuring 40 and causing over $500,000 in damage. Tornadoes associated with Tropical Storm Mitch (1998) injured 60 and damaged over 600 homes in the upper Florida Keys. More recently, tornadoes associated with Hurricane Katrina (2005), Tropical Storm Barry (2007), and Hurricane Ike (2008) damaged property on Vaca, Sugarloaf, and Lower Matecumbe Keys, respectively. This investigation was motivated by the need to better understand the atmospheric environment in and near tropical cyclones that result in tornadoes that affect the Florida Keys and adjacent coastal waters. A climatology of Florida Keys tropical cyclone-induced tornadoes will be presented, including a census of tornado locations with respect to the associated tropical cyclone center. In addition, the mean kinematic and thermodynamic environment will be explored using available proximity rawinsonde data. Results of this work will be compared with those of more extensive tropical cyclone tornado climatologies found in the literature.
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