Severe Weather Strikes Florida: Homes and Businesses Damaged by Tornadoes

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Florida faced severe weather on Thursday, with multiple tornadoes causing significant damage to homes, cars, and businesses. A tornado hit Clearwater Beach in the early morning, damaging homes and scattering debris throughout the streets. There were no reported injuries in Clearwater Beach.

In Dunedin, north of Clearwater Beach, damage, including flipped vehicles and downed power lines, was reported, with buildings missing walls and roofs, and business windows blown out.

Approximately 65 miles north of Clearwater Beach, another tornado caused extensive damage to numerous businesses and homes in Crystal River. While there was considerable damage to the city, no significant injuries or deaths were reported. The National Weather Service determined that Clearwater and Crystal River tornadoes were at least EF-2 strength.

Citrus County officials have reopened most of the roads that were closed due to downed power lines, trees, and debris, but schools remained closed due to the damage.

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The severe weather continued eastward across The Sunshine State, with an EF2 tornado causing damage in Palm Coast on the Atlantic coast. Several homes in Palm Coast's Indian Trails neighborhood experienced major structural damage, but no injuries were reported.

Millions of Floridians were under a tornado watch throughout the day as the storm system moved across the state. Wind gusts of 30-40 mph and heavy rain were expected in northern parts of the state.

Our exclusive proprietary report shows how concerned Florida residents are about natural disasters and severe weather.

Safety tips for tornadoes

At home: Seek shelter in a room on the first floor that doesn't have exterior walls. Bathrooms, hallways, or closets are usually safer choices. If you have a tornado shelter or basement, use it. Mobile home residents should find a nearby neighbor, friend, relative, or business for protection.

In a car: Don't attempt to outrun a tornado. Seek shelter in the nearest business or building. Avoid highway overpasses and bridges, as they can collapse.

At work or in public spaces: Move away from windows and exterior doors. Go to the lowest level of the building if possible. Take cover under a heavy table or workbench, or protect your head with your hands.

In open areas: If you can't find shelter, lie down in a low place like a trench, ditch, or gully. Stay away from trees. Cover your head and neck. You can use your hands or something like a pillow, bike helmet, book, or laptop.

If bed-bound: Cover yourself as best as you can with blankets and pillows to protect from flying debris. Ensure your head is well-covered.

Stay informed: Be aware of tornado warnings through multiple sources such as outdoor warning sirens, local radio or TV stations, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) on your phone, and virtual assistants like Alexa.

Have a plan: Sit down with your household and make a plan in case of a natural disaster emergency. Know where to go in a tornado, especially if you live in an apartment, trailer, or mobile home.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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