Flagler County - Palm Coast Tornado December 14th, 2013

Scott Cordero, NWS Jacksonville
-  scott.cordero@noaa.gov

Summary

A progressive upper trough of low pressure over the central U.S. was moving east with the lead short wave trough lifting northeast across the Ohio Valley during the day  Saturday.  Well ahead of a cold front, Northeast Florida and Southeast Ga region was located in the warm sector of this system with a strongly sheared atmosphere. The 12z and 00z JAX Upper Air Sounding showed 0-3KM helicity values between 300-400 J/kg. Surface based instability was weak but enough for thunderstorm activity over mainly southern zones of our CWA with more stability noted further north over southeast Georgia. Two thunderstorms had merged together as thunderstorms tracked from the nature coast across the peninsula into Flagler County. The role of the storms interaction and merger most likely assisted in the subsequent storm enhancement and tornado genesis across Palm Coast, Florida.

During the evening hours, between 655 pm and 710 pm on December 14, 2013, a tornado with maximum strength of EF1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale touched down and crossed the northern sections of Palm Coast in Flagler County Florida. The tornado initially touched down north of Espanola on an intermittend track. The tornado then intensified to its maximum strength of 95 to 110 across the B section (Indian Trails and Pine Lakes neighborhoods) and western F sections of Palm Coast on a continuous path ranging in width from approximately 75 yards to a maximum of around 150 yards on Bannbury Lane. The tornado weakened as it moves northeast toward the coast with a path width of 25 to 50 yards across the eastern F section and Hammock area.  

Storm Relative Velocity Loop via National Weather Service Jacksonville Doppler Radar


  Base Reflectivity Loop via National Weather Service Jacksonville Doppler Radar


The location of the initial touchdown was near 29.52 degrees north latitude and 81.31 degrees west longitude. The location of the final damage was near 29.61 degrees north latitude and 81.19 degrees west longitude.  The total distance between the initial touchdown and final damage is approximately 9.5 miles with the longest continuous path approximately 1 mile in the B section of Palm Coast.  

Palm Coast - Flagler County Tornado Track Map


Media reported 7 homes were destroyed and more than 150 damaged when the tornado struck Palm Coast. Palm Coast city officials stated that 142 homes were partially damaged in the Indian Trails neighborhood and 22 homes had moderate damage. The damage was estimated at more than $5 million. No injuries were reported. The area was cluttered with downed trees and house debris.  The tornado downed power lines, blew out windows, knocked down trees and power poles and ripped away roof shingles.


Storm Damage Imgages in Collage format


Our thoughts are with those that had storm damage and wish a speedy recovery getting homes quickly repaired. The National Weather Service would like to thank those homeowners who graciously allowed the NWS to survey the damage and provide important information to what exactly took place. The NWS would also like to thank our emergency management partners in Flagler County for insightful information and their assistance in the survey.

 


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