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Cold Front Passage and Associated Squall Line With Intense Thunderstorms
December 25th, 2006 - Key West, FL - Lower Florida Keys
by Martin Kucera
(c) 2006 - FloridaLightning.com
severe squall thunderstorm hail tornado waterspout lightning weather florida keys
The night before this anticipated cold front event, of course I could not sleep.
Finally, the next morning, as soon as I looked at the radar it became clear we
needed to be in Key West, FL quite fast.
There was already a Tornado Watch issued earlier for central and south Florida
and several Special Marine Warnings all around the Lower Keys.
We got to Key West at about 4 pm and all we could see was the pre-frontal
debris obstructing the sky and visibility.
That was to change as soon as we got closer to the north-west side of the island
to obtain a better view of the horizon and the approaching squall line. We could
hear the system almost before we could see it. The rumble of thunder was so
intense it carried over the horizon and certainly was one of the most interesting
thunder events that I can recently remember.
When the squall line rolled in Key West, the city got blasted with gusty winds,
heavy rains and frequent lightning strikes, and you could see people in chaos
running around everywhere, trying to drive their scooters and bicycles in to
the safety of some kind of shelter or overhang, but we had to bail out of the city
and run north to stay ahead of the main squall line. It took about twenty
minutes before we could see the clearing above the horizon again.
Eventually we got out of the heavy rain somewhere near Big Pine Key.
Timing and remaining light was good for a couple more shoots before it got
dark rather quickly. By this time the squall line almost completely lost it's
punch. No more thunder could be heard.
Only later that evening you could see more lightning over the ocean side of the
Upper Keys but the squall line quickly moved off shore toward the Bahamas.
(c) 2006 - FloridaLightning.com