Johns Island Tornado (25 September 2015)

In the early morning hours of Friday, the 25th of September, a tornado quickly formed within a convective band moving ashore from off the coast of South Carolina. The tornado touched down on Johns Island, in Charleston County, SC, around 12:38 AM and remained on the ground for almost 7 miles, leaving a path of damaged homes and downed trees that was up to 0.5 miles wide. Thankfully there were no fatalities or even major injuries, despite it being a nighttime tornado, which typically leave residents little time to prepare and seek shelter. The National Weather Service rated it an EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale with an estimated maximum wind speed of 130 mph.

The University of Florida Wind Hazard Damage Assessment Group report linked below summarizes the damage using publicly available information from social median and local news sources. Our report focuses on the fact that despite the relatively long and wide path, only one home suffered major damage that will likely require it to be rebuilt. We hypothesize that this can at least partially be attributed to the wind resistant building codes that have been in use in Charleston County for the past couple decades. Implications of this with respect to the EF Scale, the damage-based scale use to rate tornado intensity, are also discussed.


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Tornadoes in a Bottle

On Thursday last week, Wind Hazard Damage Assessment Group (WHDAG) members, Austin Thompson and Malcolm Ammons received the opportunity to teach students at Williams Elementary School about forensic engineering and tornadoes. This afterschool program began in partnership with the Gainesville Community Science Coalition in order to foster an appreciation for the sciences in students at a young age.

The group of 12 4th – 5th graders learned about tornado formation and safety. Additionally, Austin and Malcolm used a 1/8th scale house model to show the students how homes behave in a tornado when various components fail. Afterwards, the kids took part in an EF Scale training activity using damage photos from Moore, OK 2013 tornado. At the end of the meeting, the students made tornadoes in a bottle, using empty soda bottles, Teflon tape, and water.

For fun games and other ways to educate kids on tornadoes, check out the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s


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America’s PrepareAthon TwitterCHAT

#prepareAthonWeather-Ready Nation is a community based campaign with the goal of providing citizens with better weather hazard related information for better decision making and preparedness.

The UF Wind Hazard Damage Assessment Group makes up one of hundreds WRN ambassadors internationally and we are privileged to have been able to take part in this year’s first PrepareAthon.

Here are a few exciting tweets from yesterday’s PrepareAthon Chat:

View the entire Chat here #PrepareAthon

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Join America’s PrepareAthon! National Day of Action on Twitter. 2-3PM ET #PrepareAthon

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America’s PrepareAthon! National Day of Action Is This Thursday, February 26, 2015

America’s PrepareAthon is a community-based campaign to increase national emergency preparedness in support of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD-8) for national resiliency.

America’s PrepareAthon events are held biannually across the country with a focus on preparing organizations and individuals for natural hazards and encourage discussion. To learn more, join a special TweetChat:

Title: What is America’s PrepareAthon! and How to Participate
Date: Thursday, February 26, 2015
Time: 2-3 PM Eastern Time
Hashtag: #PrepareAthon

Click here to learn more about America’s PrepareAthon!

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Tropical Cyclone Marcia (Australia) Preliminary Damage Report

A First by UF’s Wind Hazard Damage Assessment Group

Link to Summary of Feb '15 Australia Cyclone

Link to Summary of Feb '15 Australia Cyclone

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Florida’s Severe Weather Awareness Week

Severe Weather Awareness Week is upon us. As a part of Florida’s Severe Weather Awareness Week activities, a 20 minutes statewide Tornado Drill will Be held Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4th, at 10:10 a.m.

For instructions, here’s a link to the NWS tornado safety page.

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Statewide Tornado Drill

Photo credit: ewige | Foter | CC BY

This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in both the States of Florida and Georgia. As a part of each state’s Severe Weather Awareness Week activities statewide Tornado Drills will Be held on Wednesday, February 4th.

The Tornado Drill/Routine Weekly Test for the State of Georgia will be held at 9:00 a.m. and Florida’s at 10:10 a.m. and will be transmitted on transmitters serving the respective states. This drill will last for 20 to 30 minutes.

Resolve to take the actions you would take for a Tornado Warning for your school…hospital…nursing home or facility.

If there are any questions regarding the Tornado Drills please contact the National Weather Service office in Jacksonville at 800-499-1594 extension 1.

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1st Anniversary of the Washington, IL tornado

Today is the first anniversary of the Washington, IL November 17, 2014 tornado. The tornado initially developed over the East Peoria County, IL at 10:59am CST and then moved northward towards Tazewell County and the city of Washington, reaching EF-4 intensity. The length of this tornado path was 46.2 miles, taking it through three counties. It caused several fatality, 122 injuries and damaged as many as 500 buildings in the city of Washington.
This tornado was one of 45 confirmed tornadoes resulting from a significant outbreak of severe thunderstorms.

Continue to the WHDAG’s 17 November 2013 Illinois Online Damage Report

Read up on recovery efforts

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Join a TweetChat hosted by @PrepareAthon to learn how to practice preparedness 9/23 @2PM ET #PrepareChat #NatlPrep

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