There were no injuries or loss of life reported at Tallahassee International Airport January 27 in the wake of a tornado that struck just before noon and flipped over an ATP Flight School Piper Seminole that was parked on the ramp. The airport in Florida’s capital was briefly closed, but most aircraft and structures, other than one hangar, were spared significant damage. The county emergency manager told the city newspaper, “we may have dodged a bullet.”
Two people were killed and another injured in a car crash on Interstate 10 that officials said was related to weather, though it was unclear if the tornado was a factor.
The National Weather Service in Tallahassee confirmed the EF0 tornado packed winds up to 85 mph. The damage was mainly confined to airport property, though a dugout at a nearby high school baseball field was damaged, along with “a barn and a couple of sheds,” the newspaper reported. While the Seminole was the only aircraft flipped by the tornado, other parked aircraft were moved, including at least two large commercial jets. Trees just outside of the terminal were toppled, at least one of which fell on a parked car. Passengers and staff sheltered in stairwells inside the airport as the storm approached.
ATP Flight School trains pilots for airline careers at seven locations around Florida (and 53 nationwide), though Tallahassee is not one of them. A spokesman told AOPA via email that he was still gathering information about whether the pilot(s) of the tempest-tossed twin had been stranded, or if they had returned by other means to their home base.