Groundhog Day Tornado Outbreak
The 2007 Groundhog Day tornado outbreak was a localized but devastating tornado event that took place in central Florida early on February 2, 2007.
Early morning temperatures had risen well above average for the season; combined with increased moisture and a powerful jet stream, this created enough instability and wind shear for thunderstorms to rotate and spawn tornadoes. Due to the conditions, a long-tracked supercell formed and produced three tornadoes over one hour and seventeen minutes. The supercell resulted in a 70-mile (110-kilometer) trail of damage.
Twenty-one people were killed and 76 others were injured in the outbreak. The first tornado damaged 1,145 homes and destroyed 200 others in Sumter County before hitting the Lady Lake area where it killed eight people, damaged 180 homes and destroyed 101 homes in Lake County. The second tornado killed 13 people in the Lake Mack area and damaged and destroyed over 500 homes during its existence. The final tornado damaged roofs, car ports and garage doors along its path through New Smyrna Beach. The outbreak was the second-deadliest on record for Florida, with damages of $218 million.
A deadly tornado event occurred across the NWS Melbourne County Warning Area within Lake and Volusia Counties during the early morning hours of February 2, 2007. A discontinuous swath of damage was observed from the town of Lady Lake (Lake County) to New Smyrna Beach (Volusia County) - a distance of over 70 miles. A total of 21 fatalities occurred within Lake County.
During the overnight hours of February 2, 2007, a line of thunderstorms moving across central Florida spawned three tornadoes. The tornadoes struck Sumter, Lake, and Volusia counties between 3 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., and killed 21 people in the second-deadliest tornado outbreak in Florida history. The first tornado struck The Villages in Sumter County and Lady Lake in Lake County, was rated EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, and killed eight people. The second tornado, also rated EF-3, struck the Lake Mack area of Lake County and near Deland in Volusia County. The third tornado, rated EF-1, struck New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County. These tornadoes contributed to a nationwide tornado fatality total in 2007 that by the end of May exceeded the total for all of 2006.
Tornadoes struck FL Friday morning Feb 2, with at least 20 deaths reported (all in Lake County), more than 1500 homes damaged or destroyed, and damage likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The NWS is not yet done with its damage surveys of Friday's tornadoes.
However, they have preliminarily determined that there were two killer tornadoes and a third, non-lethal tornado spawned from the main supercell thunderstorm that tracked across parts of Sumter, Lake, and Volusia Counties.