"There are no tornado sirens here in Florida," ABC's Jeffrey Kofman (subscription required) told us, so sleeping residents had no warning of the pre-dawn storm. Trailer parks were especially hard hit. But even well-built houses made of brick and frame were torn apart, CBS' Sharyn Alfonsi demonstrated from Volusia County, when they received direct impact: "Homes are reduced to toothpicks." ABC's Kofman showed us one elderly couple, roused by the storm and rendered homeless. Had they had eaten since the catastrophe? They could not, they replied. They had no teeth.
Rare as they are in Florida, tornados tend to occur if there happens to be an active El Nino current in the Pacific Ocean. In years such as this, meteorologist Bryan Norcross (no link) of WFOR-TV explained on CBS, the jetstream is pushed farther south than usual, making Florida vulnerable to such storms, especially in the month of February.
Normally, the weather that Floridians brace for is a hurricane. The massive newly built retirement community in Sumter County called The Villages, population 62,000, attracted many who moved inland from the coast in order to be safe. "Retirement in Florida is not always necessarily peaceful," NBC's Michelle Kosinski (at the tail of the Sanders videostream) understated. NBC's Kerry Sanders added that "a growing number of Floridians have no insurance" after premiums tripled in the wake of severe hurricane damage.
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