SPC Stats

Path length: 5.8 miles

Width:  150 yards

Fatalities:  0

Injuries:  18

Rating:  F2

County:  Polk

Three tornadoes occurred on December 27, 1997 in the state of Florida.  The strongest was given an F2 rating.  It developed in the Lake Region Mobile Home Park along US Highway 27 and County Road 544 in Polk County.  Several residents remarked that the tornado sounded like “a high-pitched whine”.  Many mobile homes had major to severe damage.

The tornado traveled to the northeast for nearly six miles, paralleling US 27.  A total of 75 homes were destroyed and another 75-100 had major damage.  Most of the destroyed homes were mobile or pre-fabricated.  Ten vehicles were damaged/destroyed.  The Boone Middle School over eastern Haines city had major damage to the main building.  Eleven portable classrooms were destroyed/heavily damaged.  

Tornado Path

SPC coordinates:  Start: 28.07 / -81.67      End: 28.13 / -81.60

Corrected Coordinates based on Storm Data:

28.058849/-81.653207    End: 28.125524/-81.589203

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Images via Storm Data

Cover of the December 1997 Storm Data Publication with this caption: "A two-story home in Haines City is damaged by an F2 (Fujita Scale: Wind speeds 113-157 mph) tornado on December 27, 1997. The tornado caused damage along a 5.8 mile path just east of Haines City, Florida. Notice the insulation can bee seen in the yard and in tree branches. (Photograph courtesy of Walk Zaleski, Warning Coordination Meterologist, National Weather Service, Ruskin, FL)."

Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Newspaper Clippings

Questions or comments about this summary?  Contact us here!

Join the tornado history discussion on our Discord Server!

Note:  There are some images/videos in our summaries that were licensed to us to be used only on this website. If you would like to use an image/video in your project or blog, please contact us and we will grant permission if possible.

Newspaper clips are embedded via newspapers.com. Please see their terms and conditions.


Would you like to see more summaries like this one?  Support Tornado Talk on Patreon! Become a Patron!


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder
You cannot copy content of this page