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Tornado Rips Through Sun 'n Fun 2011

IAC tent flattened, but volunteers okay

By Reggie Paulk, Editor – In the Loop, Sport Aerobatics
Photos Trish Deimer

Sun 'n Fun

Sun 'n Fun

A freak storm harboring an EF-1 tornado, with sustained winds as high as 105mph, scoured its way through the center of the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport and the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo venue in Florida on Thursday, March 31. Nearly 70 planes were damaged or destroyed (here is a partial list) but incredibly, there were no major injuries reported after the storm blew through.

IAC Manager Trish Deimer was in the merchandise tent when the storm hit. She described the approach of the storm as a driving rain; the only warning of a tornado came when a side of the tent blew in. She and a small group of people took shelter in a corner of the tent as the winds and rain raged outside. When she stepped outside after the storm subsided, she was shocked at the amount of damage surrounding them. Here are a couple photos she snapped with her cell phone immediately after the storm.

IAC Volunteer Jean Taylor was manning the aerobatic tent near the warbird ramp and took shelter in her car parked nearby. She snapped the opening photo to this story immediately after the storm; her car can be seen under the collapsed tent. She described the car as drivable but totaled. We’re just thankful she’s okay. You can read more about the storm and its aftermath by visiting EAA’s Sun ’n Fun page.

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