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Tornado Watch in Effect for Central Florida Until 4 PM

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Polk County Emergency Management Release:

A tornado watch is in effect for Polk County until 4 p.m. A fast moving squall line containing a band of numerous showers and strong to severe lightning storms will approach Polk County and central Florida today. Scattered storms are expected to develop and impact central Florida throughout the afternoon, prior to the arrival of the main band. Storm motion today will be extremely fast, toward the northeast at 50 to 60 mph. Today`s storms could produce damaging wind gusts in excess of 60 mph, frequent cloud to ground lightning, torrential downpours, small hail, and tornadoes could also occur.


If you are at home during a tornado:

  • Go to a windowless interior room on lowest level of your house. Go to a storm cellar or basement if your house has one. If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.
  • Get away from the windows.
  • Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they tend to attract debris.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
  • Use your arms to protect head and neck.
  • If you are in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.

If you are at work or school during a tornado:

  • Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level.
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
  • Use your arms to protect head and neck.

If you are outdoors during a tornado:

  • If possible, get inside a building.
  • If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building. Look out for flood waters which may also fill low areas.
  • Use your arms to protect head and neck.

If you are in a car during a tornado:

  • Never try to drive faster than a tornado in a car or truck. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air.
  • Get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building.
  • If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. Be aware of the potential for flooding.

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