A morning surrounded by tornadoes

Well, today was an interesting day here in southwest Florida. We knew there were going to be severe storms this morning. I went to bed early last night because I love intense storms, and did not want to sleep through them. I pictured myself waking up, making coffee, and sitting out in the courtyard watching the rain move in.

Alas, it turned out sleeping through the storms would not be much of a problem. We were woken up just before 7 AM to all of our phones blasting a tornado warning. Then every Alexa device started blaring the warning, followed by smart televisions. They were serious about this one.

There were several tornadoes in the area, including one just down the street from us, near the causeway that leads to Sanibel Island. We also had a waterspout on the Caloosahatchee River directly in front of our house. That created a rather impressive wall of rain.

The waterspout in front of our house:

This tornado was a couple miles down the street from us. Damage survey indicates it was an EF2.

The full picture (the above one was enlarged to show the debris field) looks like there were two tornadoes moving simultaneously (photo taken by Brandon Lucas):

Here is video of the tornado moving over a golf course community. I like the wife in the background yelling at her husband to come inside so she can close the hurricane shutters.

Another tornado moved across I-75 (affectionately called “Alligator Alley” here, because it transverses the Everglades) and pushed over a semi east of Naples. The driver was not badly hurt.

Here is a video of the tornado in Fort Myers and a shot of a tornado in Naples, the city just south of us:

Another tornado in Naples:

Here is my picture of the torrential rain:

Here is a video of some of the damage the EF2 tornado in Fort Myers did. It leveled several RV parks by the beach. I saw a video of a man who was trapped under his kitchen sink in the fetal position as his entire house came down on him. Firefighters and his neighbors dug him out of the rubble. He is still looking for his little poodle. According to the police, about 150 to 200 people (likely tourists and snowbirds) were displaced by the storm. The city is providing them with food and shelter.

Overall, a pretty nerve-racking morning. This kind of weather is common in Florida this time of year, however, when the jet stream pulls cooler air into our warm region. This is what passes for springtime in the tropics. We had another set of tornadoes a couple weeks ago, but they mostly just overturned some trees and made work for the road crews.

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