Two strong tornados touched down in Sarasota and Manatee counties early Sunday morning, killing two people and causing millions of dollars’ worth of property damage in the area.
At 3:17 a.m., a 350-yard-wide tornado tore across Siesta Key and reached wind speeds of up to 132 mph over its mile-long path. The tornado heavily damaged condos and homes on Siesta Key and the nearby mainland.
Almost 20 minutes later, a second tornado touched down near the town of Duette in Manatee Country. That tornado measured 300 yards wide with wind speeds of 127 mph along its 9.5-mile path. It claimed the lives of two people and injured five others.
According to The National Weather Service, both tornadoes rated at EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale of 0 to 5. An EF2 tornado is rated as strong, with winds of 111 to 135 mph.
Over 60 properties in Sarasota County suffered structural damage with an estimated total of over $12 million. Immediately following the storms, nearly 17,000 Florida Power & Light customers were without electricity, but the power had nearly all been restored by later Sunday morning.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott toured the area on Sunday afternoon to assess the damage. It has not yet been determined if the state would seek a federal state of disaster declaration.