Tropical Storm With Tornados Headed Directly For Walt Disney World

The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel

A storm, which is expected to have tropical storm-like conditions by the time it hits the Sunshine State, is headed right for Walt Disney World in Florida.

Meteorologists are predicting 1-4″ of rain and coastal flood for the Central Florida area, where Walt Disney World is located. They are also predicting a chance of fast-forming, fast-moving tornadoes, and gusty conditions that could produce Tropical Storm-level wind gusts up to 40+ MPH.

The storm system is currently developing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Storm To Hit Central Florida

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The FOX Forecast Center reported that "an unusually strong area of low pressure is developing over the Gulf of Mexico, before impacting" Florida. "As that low gets stronger, winds across Florida will increase, and rain will get heavier." There is a risk of severe weather and tornadoes in Central Florida.

The storms are expected to begin to ramp up around 4 p.m. Saturday and continue through until about 6 a.m. Sunday.

Disney World has announced that its water park -- Blizzard Beach -- will be closed from Saturday, December 16th through Tuesday, December 19th. Blizzard Beach is currently scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, December 20th.

No other closures have been announced by Disney World at this time.

According to WESH, the tornado threats look to begin sometime Saturday evening and continue through Sunday morning.

A coastal flood warning is in effect through 1 p.m. Saturday. The National Weather Service released a statement explaining that “significant coastal flooding is expected” and “coastal roads may be closed. Low-lying property will be inundated. Significant shoreline erosion will occur.”

On the coast, life-threatening rip currents are expected.

Governor Ron DeSantis Releases Statement On Storm

ron desantis 1

"The Florida State Guard plays an essential role in Florida’s preparation for and swift response to severe weather," Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said of the civilian volunteer force. "We thank them for their willingness to mobilize on short notice as we prepare for potential severe weather impacts this weekend."

The Florida Division of Emergency Management is also making preparations.

Hurricane Idalia Hits Florida

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Earlier this year, Category 4 Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida, which then became a strong Category 3 with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph. Despite the strong winds and heavy rain, Florida state officials only counted one Florida death due to the hurricane, which was a traffic fatality in Alachua County.

“Four events in six years tends to bring it to the forefront of the conversation,” said Angie Lindsey, coordinator of the Florida Extension Disaster Education Network at the University of Florida. “It’s so important to use these events as teaching tools so that we go back and tweak what we need to. What have we learned that we can apply for next time?”

Hurricane Idalia mainly hit the western part of the state, meaning Walt Disney World was not affected. The company kept the Parks open last week, although it was a ghost town as many people did not venture into Disney World in the rain and winds.

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Walt Disney World has only closed its Orlando theme parks eight times for hurricanes since opening in 1971:

  • 1985: Hurricane Elena

  • 1999: Hurricane Floyd

  • 2004: Hurricane Charlie

  • 2004: Hurricane Francis

  • 2004: Hurricane Jeanne

  • 2016: Hurricane Matthew

  • 2017: Hurricane Irma

  • 2019: Hurricane Dorian

  • 2022: Hurricane Ian

The Blast will continue to monitor this latest storm.