No, 70 People Were Not Trapped in an Airport Hangar Due to Central Florida's Crazy Weather

It's in the 80s and perfectly sunny here in Miami, but our state-mates in the central part of Florida aren't enjoying the same good weather. An apparent tornado that ripped through Tampa has left many areas in Central Florida in disarray. But a report carried by numerous national media sources that claims storms trapped 70 people in a collapsed airport hangar in Lakeland is false.

Numerous websites, including CNN, Fox News, and the Daily Mail, reported that 70 people were trapped inside a collapsed airport hangar at Sun 'n' Fun Aviation Fair at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The original report apparently came directly from the National Weather Service. The claims have since been refuted, and most of the articles have been corrected. The Daily Mail's is still up, though, if you want to read its trademark breathless reporting.

The storm causeed extensive minor damage at the airport, and about seven people sustained injuries when a tent collapsed. But everyone has been accounted for, and no one was actually trapped.

Several other weather incidents have been reported:

  • Several small airplanes were overturned at the St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport.
  • An apparent tornado touched down in Tampa that caused "some damage to residences and commercial businesses." There have been no reported injuries in the cities, but some trees and power lines are down.
  • Meanwhile, Tampa International Airport has delayed several flights.
  • Pinellas, Polk, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, and Highlands counties are under a tornado watch until 8 p.m.

The Tampa Tribune has an extensive list of minor damage reported throughout the Tampa Bay area.

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Kyle Munzenrieder