Rare Tornado in Puerto Rico

By: Christopher C. Burt , 8:51 PM GMT on October 02, 2013

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Rare Tornado in Puerto Rico

A rare tornado touched down in Puerto Rico four miles south of the town of Aguada on Tuesday afternoon, October 1st.

The tornado has not yet been rated but video footage clearly shows that some damage must have occurred. The NWS-San Juan office issued this statement:

BASED ON INFORMATION FROM VIDEOS AND PHOTOS OBTAINED...
ALL PRELIMINARY REPORTS SUGGEST A TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN AT BARRIO ATALAYA IN AGUADA...PRODUCING STRUCTURAL DAMAGES TO HOME AND SHELTERS...DOWNED TREES...OVERTURNED CARGO TRAILER...DOWNED POWER LINES AND LOSS OF ELECTRICITY.

Here is a still from one of the videos:



The video may be viewed here. There is also another video of the tornado from a different location here.


According to the Tornado History Project, there have been 23 tornadoes in Puerto Rico since 1959. The strongest one occurred on August 30, 1974 near Caguas and was rated as a F-1 (on the old Fujita scale). It had a path 2 miles long and was 50 yards wide. Only two tornadoes have resulted in injuries; one injury from a twister on May 5, 1969 and up to four injuries from a storm that hit Mayaguez on July 17, 2010, according to a CNN report (although two of these injuries were caused when people running away from the tornado apparently fell down). The last tornado reported from Puerto Rico occurred on September 13, 2012.




A map of some of the tornadoes to have occurred in Puerto Rico since 1959 reproduced on the Tornado History Project web site. A table of all the previous 23 known tornadoes and details concerning them can also be found on the site.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

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3. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
7:35 PM GMT on October 04, 2013
weatherhistorian has created a new entry.
2. bappit
3:46 PM GMT on October 04, 2013
Quoting 1. Astrometeor:
I would've expected tornadoes to be a bit more common than 23 since '59. Do landfalling storms and hurricanes not create tornadoes on Puerto Rico as they do on the U.S.?

I vaguely remember something about friction with the land contributing to tornadoes in landfalling hurricanes. If the land mass were small, then maybe the effect would not be as great. Also, mountains would disrupt the windflow differently.

I see this mentioned here: "Tornadoes can form when hurricanes make landfall, as their winds at ground level slow down, while the winds near the top keep their momentum."
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6061
1. Astrometeor
9:57 PM GMT on October 02, 2013
I would've expected tornadoes to be a bit more common than 23 since '59. Do landfalling storms and hurricanes not create tornadoes on Puerto Rico as they do on the U.S.?
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10345

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About weatherhistorian

Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.