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Polk is Subject to Tornadoes Both Winter and Summer - Here Are Some Safety Tips

Did you know that, according to Florida State University's Climate Center, Florida is the state with the most tornadoes per 10,000 square miles? This means that, while other states do get more tornadoes annually, Florida is No. 1 when you consider the size of the state vs. the number of tornadoes. Florida averages 12.2 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles.

"During the summer, tornadoes can accompany severe weather," said Paul Womble, director of Polk County's Emergency Management Division. "Historically, though, our biggest tornadoes in Polk County occur in the winter, when cold weather fronts move in. Here, in Central Florida, we don't have to wonder if a tornado will strike. We have to wonder when it will strike."

According to the National Weather Service, a tornado is a violently rotating (usually counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere) column of air descending from a thunderstorm and in contact with the ground. Although tornadoes are usually brief, lasting only a few minutes, they can sometimes last for more than an hour and travel several miles causing considerable damage.

The National Weather Service recommends the following steps to be prepared for a tornado:

• Check the forecast regularly to see if you're at risk for tornadoes.

• Sign up for Polk County warnings by visiting

• Create a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place. If you live in a mobile home or home without a basement, identify a nearby safe building you can get to quickly.

• Pick an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

• Make sure all members of your family know to go there when tornado warnings are issued. Don't forget pets.

• Consider having your safe room reinforced.

• Encourage your loved ones to prepare for the possibility of tornadoes.

For more information on prepping for disasters, visit or go to Polk County Emergency Management's social media accounts:

Facebook: PolkCountyEM

Twitter: @PolkEmergency


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