Tornado damages Bay County substation and trailer park

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ALERT: Areas of the Panhandle are subject to severe weather warnings:

  • A tornado watch for Bay, Calhoun and Gulf counties has been extended until 10 a.m. EST / 9 a.m. CST.
  • Franklin, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison and Wakulla are under tornado watch until 1 p.m. EST.
  • A tornado warning remains in effect for central Wakulla and southeast Liberty counties until 9:45 a.m. EST.
  • A special marine advisory is in effect for coastal waters from Mexico Beach to Apalachicola and the Okaloosa-Walton County line to Mexico Beach until 9:45 a.m. EST/10:45 a.m. CST

Tornadoes were reported in the Panhandle area on Wednesday morning as strong thunderstorms sweep from the west across northeast Florida, southeast Alabama and southern Georgia today, thanks to a series of low-pressure waves moving across the southeastern United States, according to the National Weather Service.

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office reported what appeared to have been a tornado around 6:15 a.m. causing damage to Callaway’s BCSO substation and the fire station adjoining the substation.

“Windows were smashed, vehicles in the parking lot were damaged, as was a portable building on the property,” the Facebook post read, “a nearby mobile home park also suffered damage.”

No injuries were reported, a later report said.

Tornado Strike:Tornado landed in Callaway, hitting the substation and mobile home park

Severe storms are possible in the Panhandle Wednesday, March 9, 2022, according to the National Weather Service.

Weather Doppler radar spotted a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado at 9:21 a.m. EST 13 miles west of Crawfordville, moving northeast. Other locations affected by this tornado storm include Sanborn, Tully and Arran, the NWS reported.

“Heavy rain may hide this tornado,” the NWS report said. “Don’t wait to see or hear the tornado. COVER NOW!”

Around 5:30 a.m. CST, a radar-reported tornado was detected in the Marianna area.

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At 6:44 a.m. CST, severe thunderstorms capable of producing waterspouts were observed along a line extending from near Panama City Beach to southeast of Okaloosa Deep Water Reef. A special marine warning is in effect for coastal waters from Mexico Beach to Apalachicola 20 nautical miles, coastal waters from the Okaloosa-Walton County line to Mexico Beach 20 to 60 nm.

Storms with severe weather potential are expected to continue to move east through the region today, the NWS reported. Conditions are expected to become less favorable for strong to severe storms Thursday afternoon and evening. A nearly identical pattern is expected on Friday.

Bay, Calhoun and Gulf counties are under tornado watch until 9 a.m. CST.

Franklin, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison and Wakulla counties are under tornado watch until 1 p.m. EST.

If a tornado is spotted in your area, the NWS advises residents to seek shelter immediately, by moving to a basement or an interior room on the top floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home or in a vehicle, move to the nearest sturdy shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.

National Weather Service meteorologist Cameron Young said Wednesday that a cold front moving through the region on Wednesday would significantly increase the chance of rain to up to a 90% chance by Thursday.

If a tornado or other severe weather is spotted, report it to the nearest National Weather Service or law enforcement agency who will send your report to you. This act can save the lives of others caught in dangerous weather conditions.

Contributor: Christopher Cann, Democrat of Tallahassee

CA Bridges is a digital producer for the USA TODAY Network, working with several newsrooms across Florida. Local journalists work hard to keep you informed about the topics that matter to you, and you can support them by subscribing to your local news agency. Read more of Chris’ articles here and follow him on Twitter at @cabridges

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