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Confirmed Overnight Tornado Kills Two, Injures Others in Florida


A confirmed EF-2 tornado ripped through Manatee County, Florida early on Sunday morning, killing two people and injuring at least four others as another wave of violent storms moved through the Sunshine State.

The National Weather Service office in Tampa, Florida confirmed on Sunday morning that an EF-2 tornado moved through Manatee County and the town of Duette, where two people were killed inside a mobile home that was destroyed. Four others were injured as the tornado, which stayed on the ground for 9.2 miles and approximately 13 minutes, swept through Duette, located about 35 miles southeast of Tampa.

The Manatee County twister is believed to be the first deadly U.S. tornado in 2016.

Another possible tornado may have moved through Hobe Sound on Florida’s east coast. The weather service is expected to assess the damage later Sunday to see whether or not it was caused by a tornado.

Elsewhere, strong winds, including an 84 mile-per-hour (MPH) wind gust just east of Naples, Florida, caused several reports of damage across the state.

The violent storms were caused by an area of low pressure and adjacent cold front tracking across the Gulf of Mexico. The system ran into warm, unstable air across Florida, and a cooler, drier air mass behind the front led to a spring-like clash of air masses. El Nino, or the warming of the central Pacific Ocean, has acted to intensify the subtropical jet stream, which is often responsible for transporting low pressure from the Pacific through the Atlantic.

Behind this system, which had mostly already moved off the Florida coastline by noon on Sunday, significantly calmer conditions are expected for most of the upcoming week in the region as cooler, drier air settles in. Temperatures will run 5-10 degrees below average for Monday and Tuesday, but a return to seasonable levels should arrive by Wednesday.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi – Photo: WPEC-TV, @HeathersSox

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