Tornado causes damage at Tallahassee Airport

An airplane at the Tallahassee International Airport in Florida was flipped over as the storm moved through on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of City of Tallahassee/Twitter

A severe thunderstorm spun up a tornado that struck the Tallahassee International Airport in Florida just before noon on Wednesday, causing damage and forcing the airport to be shut down temporarily.

The tornado was confirmed by law enforcement at the airport, located just southwest of downtown.

“The tornado occurred at the [Tallahassee] airport,” the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee tweeted. “Our office is northeast of the airport on the campus of FSU and was not affected.”

No injuries were reported at the airport, but one hangar and one small plane were damaged, Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said on Twitter. The airport was closed for around two hours before being reopened early Wednesday afternoon.

The weather radar that is operated at the airport went offline just as the tornado tracked through the area. Radar is a critical tool used by meteorologists when severe weather strikes and can even show when there is a tornado on the ground that is lofting debris in the air. This is referred to as a “tornado debris signature,” meaning the radar is able to differentiate debris from rain, hail and other weather elements.

AccuWeather broadcast meteorologist Justin Povick said there was a tornado debris signature on the radar at the Tallahassee radar site as the storm moved overhead.

The radar has since gone offline, but it escaped unharmed, according to the National Weather Service.


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