South Florida sends help to victims of devastating tornado aftermath

Tornado Damage — Courtesy: Shutterstock — Image by: Dustie

South Floridians are making an effort to help out the victims of the biggest tornado to hit the U.S. in decades. Parts of Kentucky and four other states were flattened over the weekend by a destructive string of tornadoes where dozens of people were killed.

“The way our founder Michael Capponi described it is a Cat 6 hurricane, that does not exist so that magnitude is ginormous,” Global Empowerment Mission Operations Manager Daniel Merrovitch said.

The GEM facility in Doral has plans to send four truck trailers filled with supplies to Kentucky. 

“Twenty-four hours after the tornadoes hit we were already boots on the ground,” Meerovitch said.

Rescue crews are still working to find those who are still missing in certain areas. 

“Mostly we are sending bedding, we are sending mattresses, people are displaced now and have no place to sleep,” he said.

GEM is also sending food and water while Miami’s Red Cross is working to increase aid.

“It looks like an absolutely terrible situation where there are thousands of homes leveled to the ground and families who aren’t going to be able to celebrate Christmas the way they are expecting,” Red Cross Great Miami Executive Director Debbie Koch said.

“There are at least, I heard, eight Red Cross shelters open across the territory, we’re expecting more families to find us as the word gets out,” she added.

Nearly 200 people have stayed at the Red Cross shelters overnight on Sunday, and the number is expected to increase.

“These natural disasters that really sneak up on you can be so devastating and I think what they’re experiencing here, primarily in Kentucky but across all [six] states,” Red Cross South Florida Communications Director Siara Campbell said.

Both the Red Cross and GEM emphasized how monetary donations would be greatly welcomed to help relief efforts.

After the catastrophic tornado, many Florida residents wonder if the Sunshine State can experience a deadly tornado outbreak as the midwest did.

John Allen, an associate professor of meteorology at Central Michigan University, has an answer that should help calm people.

“In North Florida, up towards Tallahassee, you can see high-end tornadoes with some regularity,” Allen said. “But the further south you go, the less of a chance there is. If you’re in Miami, you don’t have anything to worry about.”

The reason is that the region lacks strong wind shear. The peninsula’s proximity to the jet stream keeps it far away, and in general, no wind shear means no tornadoes. 

“It’s really the opposite of what you want with hurricanes, where wind shear is a good thing,” Allen said. “Tornadoes need it to form.”

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