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NWS Confirms Tornado Strike At Tallahassee International Airport

National Weather Service Tornado
National Weather Service-Tallahassee
The image from @NWSTallahassee's 11:43 am )1/27/2021) tweet "11:43 am - Leon County. A tornado is on the ground! TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. Protect yourself from flying debris."

Update 2:37 p.m.: Two people have died after what Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey says was a weather-related accident. "Sadly, we can confirm two fatalities from a vehicle crash on I-10 and one individual who was transported to the hospital with injuries. This accident appears to be weather related but it is not clear that it was caused by the potential tornado."

Dailey says the airport is again open. One runway remains closed while debris is cleared and safety checks are performed.

Original Story:
The City of Tallahassee says the line of thunderstorms and heavy rains that passed through Tallahassee this afternoon spawned at least one tornado and resulted in damage at the Tallahassee International Airport. Initial reports show the airport's radar system is down. The National Weather Service says that's due to a "communications issue" and not the storm. The NWS also cited a “debris signature” near Tallahassee Community College.

The airport is now temporarily closed as the city assess the damage. Mayor John Dailey said in a tweet, "at this time we can confirm damage to one small plane & one hangar. We have no reported injuries at the airport and are continuing to assess impacts throughout the city."

The city also tweeted out photos.

City of Tallahassee
A damaged airplane hanger at the Tallahassee International Airport after a tornado strike

The tornado moved near Florida A&M University. The school says it's checking the campus and has not "seen or received any calls in regard to damage."

The storm sent Florida lawmakers, in town for legislative committee hearings, scrambling to hunker down. Several committee meetings were momentarily delayed, but later resumed. The city reports there are about 2,000 homes without power as of 1:00 p.m.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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