National Weather Service Raw Text Product

Displaying AFOS PIL: PNSKEY Received: 2018-04-17 00:10 UTC

NOUS42 KKEY 170012

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Key West FL
810 PM EDT Mon Apr 16 2018

...NWS Damage Survey for 04/15/2018 Plantation Key and Tavernier 


On April 15, 2018, between 9:10 PM EDT and 9:20 PM EDT, a waterspout 
was observed moving ashore (as a tornado) in the Indian Waterways 
subdivision of the bayside of Plantation Key, Islamorada. The 
tornado had a narrow damage path toward the east-northeast, reaching 
maximum width and wind speed over a church property bayside of the 
Overseas Highway, before weakening while passing into Hawk Channel 
(oceanside) southwest of Tavernier Creek. A second landfall as a 
weak tornado occurred over an oceanside neighborhood near the far 
southwest end of Tavernier, as the width narrowed and wind speeds 
decreased, ending almost 3 blocks inland from the oceanfront.

.Monroe County/Plantation Key and Tavernier Tornado...

Rating:                     EF-1 
Estimated Peak Wind:        90-100 mph 
Path Length /statute/:      0.8 miles Plantation Key
                            0.2 miles Tavernier 
Path Width /maximum/:       50 yards 
Fatalities:                 0 
Injuries:                   0

Start Date:                 04/15/2018
Start Time:                 Approximately 09:12 PM EDT
Start Location:             4 NE Windley Key / Monroe County / FL
Start Lat/Lon:              24.9879/-80.5511

End Date:                   04/15/2018
End Time:                   Approximately 9:20 PM EDT
End Location:               9 SW Key Largo / Monroe County / FL
End Lat/Lon:                25.0051/-80.5197

Summary:  A waterspout or funnel cloud was observed backlit by 
lightning over Florida Bay shortly before making landfall as a 
tornado at Indian Mound Trail of the Indian Waterways subdivision of 
Plantation Key, Islamorada. Large gumbo limbo tree limbs were downed 
as well as the top of a palm tree, landing 20 yards from streetside 
the front steps of a residence. And adjacent residence had a rolling 
driveway gate completely dislodged from its mounts, pushed into a 
trailered boat and car. The tornado continue to produce mostly 
damage to large limbs of hardwood trees, including gumbo limbo and 
mahogany, in a path rarely exceeded two residential properties in 
width toward the east-northeast. An entire gutter and downspout 
system was removed from a residence. Numerous loose items, including 
filled trash cans and lawn/patio furniture was moved from the 
backyards and understory of homes onto front lawns and streets. Most 
of the observed damage in the Indian Waterways community were 
consistent with 60 to 70 mph, with possible spot values near 75 mph.

The tornado crossed a patch of mangroves and undeveloped forest, and 
reached greatest intensity at San Pedro Catholic Church. There, a 
large tree split at the trunk, and an old-growth mahogany was 
uprooted, falling toward the east onto a portion of the structure 
connecting the rectory with the main church. Fortunately, the upper 
portion of the tree did not substantially damage the roof, with no 
leaks observed in the downpour that followed. However, several 
barrel tiles were removed from the peak ridges forming the hip roof 
pattern over the rectory, as well as from the southeast edge of the 
church, onto the top of the church's main entrance. Numerous large 
limbs were downed toward the east, with lightweight free-standing 
signs deposited northward cross the tornado path from right to left.
Estimated wind speeds were maximized in the range of 90 to 100 mph 
with maximum width near 50 yards. Good impact reference made to the 
observed wind impacts at this location from recent Hurricane Irma, 
all having previously been removed or repaired.  

The tornado continued toward the east-northeast, crossing U.S. 
Highway 1 and the Old Highway, but weakened such that only large 
tree limbs were downed. From this point, the tornado likely moved 
out over the oceanside as a waterspout into Hawk Channel, southwest 
of the oceanside entrance to Tavernier Creek.

A second path, likely a continuation as the waterspout made landfall 
near Lincoln Avenue on the far southwest portion of Tavernier's 
oceanside. Progressive narrowing of the damage path down to nearly 
30 yards as well as a turn toward the northwest or north-northwest 
was observed.  Impacts lessened from near the waterfront, including 
damaged fences and large limbs,gradually down to smaller limbs and 
twigs was noted. No further impacts were observed northeast of Lowe 
Street.  It is likely the wind speeds 55 to 65 mph were observed, 
weakening to below 50 mph roughly 3 blocks from the waterfront.  

The National Weather Service in the Florida Keys wishes to express 
great appreciation to the Village of Islamorada Fire Chief for 
assistance and attendance during the survey.