Tornado Watch Cancelled for Flagler-Palm Coast, Schools Cancel Outdoor Activities, Games and Practices
FlaglerLive | November 17, 2014
Last Updated: 3:44 p.m.
A broad band of severe weather extending northeast to southwest from the Florida-Georgia border to St. Petersburg is bearing down on Flagler County and Palm Coast, where a severe thunderstorm warning had been issued until 3 p.m.. A tornado watch was issued and was at first set until 6 p.m., but was since cancelled shortly after 3 p.m.
“We have cancelled all outside after-school activities,” School Superintendent Jacob Oliva said, including all scheduled sports games and practices and other outdoor activities. “We’ll continue indoor activities.” That means activities such as extended day or the strings program’s classes at Indian Trail Middle School from 3 to 6 p.m. will go on as scheduled.
“This weather system has been producing severe thunderstorm warning, tornado watches, tornado warnings,” Kevin Guthrie, Flagler County’s emergency management director, said this afternoon. We are getting reports that there may be a tornado down in Northeast Florida right now but those are unconfirmed reports.” That possible touch-down would have happened in Southwest Duval or the Clay County area.
“We would highly recommend that folks monitor the weather and if a tornado warning does go out, it’s going to go out by Code Red as it did with the Starlight tornado,” Guthrie said. “We tell people to monitor their phone devices.”
Emergency Management has dedicated a staff member to monitor any weather developments through the evening as the weather front moves through.
The severe thunderstorm warning until 3 p.m. was in effect for Flagler (including Bunnell, Palm Coast and Flagler Beach), Marion, St. Johns, Putnam and southeastern Clay counties. At close to 2 p.m., National Weather Service meteorologists had tracked a line of severe thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds in excess of 60 mph. These storms were located along a line extending from Fruit Cove to 12 miles southeast of Dunnellon and moving east very fast, at 55 mph.
A tornado watch remained in effect for the warned area until 3:08 p.m. (If a tornado is spotted, act quickly and move to a place of safety in a sturdy structure such as a small interior room.)
This storm, the Weather Service warns, has a history of producing destructive winds. Seek shelter now inside a sturdy structure and stay away from windows.
“Anybody that’s outside is going to need to be cognizant of the weather that’s going on,” Guthrie said. “Obviously if there’s hazardous weather going on people don’t need to be in it.”
At 3:24 p.m., Bob Pickering, Flagler Emergency’s weather specialist, stated that “no reports of severe weather were received. The strongest wind gust was measured at Marineland of 46 mph at 2:46 PM. There were a few minor power fluctuations as well. Even through the severe threat is over, there may still be a few lightning strikes until the rains subside.”
Flagler Emergency asks that residents let the agency know if they’ve had any of the following:
Any wind or storm related damage, any hail, any delayed reports of funnel clouds and any measured wind gusts over 40 mph.
A freeze warning is in effect for Tuesday night as cold weather moves in behind the storm front.