The Superstorm Subtropical Derecho - March 12 - 13, 1993


by Legend813

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On Friday March 12, 1993 a strong low pressure system developed in the Gulf of Mexico. This low pressure system continued to strengthen dramatically and moved northeastward into the mid Atlantic coastal region by Saturday evening, March 13th. Besides producing a record snowstorm in the eastern United States, this low pressure system produced an intense squall line with embedded bow echoes ahead of the system's cold front. The squall line produced a serial derecho as it swept across the Florida peninsula, Cuba, and adjacent waters. The squall line reached the northern portion of the west coast of Florida and western Cuba between 11 PM and midnight EST on the evening of the 12th. After creating much damage and many casualties, the storm line passed off the shore of southeastern Florida about 5 AM EST on the morning of the 13th and pulled out of central Cuba after sunrise.

Much wind damage occurred across Florida with measured wind gusts reaching a maximum of 96 mph in the Tampa Bay area. Supercells embedded within the squall line produced tornadoes in the northern half of the Florida peninsula with some reaching F2 intensity.

As the derecho producing squall line raced through Florida, 7 people were killed and 79 were injured from the strong derecho winds and embedded tornadoes. The storm system winds blew down many trees, power poles, and power lines, tore roofs off homes, severely damaged mobile homes, and overturned large trucks.

As the derecho was passing through Florida it was also passing through Cuba. This event resulted in 10 deaths and many injuries in western and central Cuba. Economic losses in Cuba exceed one billion U.S. dollars.