Severe storms drench Florida

Bob Ratkey and Mauren Bradley returned to find their home completely destroyed after a tornado ripped through their neighborhood on Tuesday, October 18. The couple had been in Michigan for two funerals and got a call from a neighbor who whitnessed the tornado touch down. Marlena Skrobe//Photo Editor

South Florida will finally be seeing clear skies and cooler weather starting Thursday morning.

Sunshine and light breezes will begin to replace the torrential rain and thunderstorms that had been pounding Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, among others, since the weekend.

On Thursday, Miami will have a high of 80 degrees, according to The Weather Channel. The low will be 63, much cooler than the October average of 75 degrees.

“I came to Miami for the warmth,” said sophomore Zach Cohen, who traveled home to Maryland for fall break, where temperatures were in the high 50s. “But I’m looking forward to the cooler weather. A little cold never hurt anybody.”

Also, South Florida will stay dry until at least the weekend, when there is a 60 percent chance of rain.

Miami-Dade County was drenched in about 7 inches of rain between Sunday and Wednesday, according to data by the South Florida Water Management District. Broward County received almost 6 inches. That same string of thunderstorms brought nearly 22 inches of rain to the lower Keys.

Though this ongoing rain is normal for the season, students are looking forward to a break from the storms.

“I was going to buy rain boots because my road had been flooding after all of the rain,” said senior Ali Grana, who walks to school from her Coral Gables duplex. “But thankfully, someone told me that it was supposed to clear up.”

The rain also came with severe lightning and strong winds, and the National Weather Service imposed a tornado watch on Tuesday night. A tornado touched down in Broward County on Tuesday and wreaked havoc on about 50 homes in Sunrise, Fla., according to an article in the Sun Sentinel. Six homes were left uninhabitable after encountering the tornado’s nearly 130 mph winds.

The disaster was close to home for some commuter students that live in Broward County.

“I was surprised because it pretty much destroyed the neighborhood and it took out all the trees,” said sophomore Gintare Kazdailyte, who lives about two minutes away from where the tornado hit.

Although Kazdailyte was at school when the tornado hit, she was worried for her neighbors and friends who live in the area.

“I was pretty concerned because I first heard that it landed behind our neighborhood where my friend lives,” she said. “He thought he might have lost his father and mother.”

UM has a disaster preparation plan available online in case of a severe weather disaster, like a tornado. Students should always keep at least a gallon of water, a flashlight, a radio and batteries.

If a tornado strikes by campus, it is advised to be aware of the surroundings.  If in a dorm or any building, it is best to stay in an interior hallway on the lowest level; closets and bathrooms at the core of the building provide the greatest protection.

If outdoors, lie face down in a ditch or the nearest low area, and cover your head with your hands.  This is preferable to remaining in a car or mobile home. Also, UM’s Emergency Notification Network will keep the UM community notified via phone call, text message, email and other outlets.