WeatherWeather News


Little or no warning: Many in tornado's path alerted with almost no time to prepare

'I just figured it was another one of our bad storms,' homeowner says
Posted at 7:15 PM, May 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-01 19:34:19-04

NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. — Eighty-year-old Jim Mondello spent the Monday after the storm working on a Corvette on the driveway of his home on Ellison Wilson Road.  

"I like to hear the sound of that motor poppin up on the street," said Mondello, a retiree from New York.  

Mondello got his first warning of an impending tornado popping at the edge of his property less than a minute after a friend called.  

"'Jim, are you OK?” Mondello quoted his friend. “There's a tornado coming right over your house.' I said, 'What are you talking about?'"  

Others questioned the warning system's effectiveness.  

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Jim Mondello shares how he learned about the tornado that hit North Palm Beach.

One viewer wrote to WPTV on Facebook: "No alert on either of our phones in Tequesta." Another wrote: "I received one and my husband didn't."  

"Florida is much better positioned to than most states due to the frequency of emergencies," said Steve Davis, a nationally known expert on emergency alerts who defends Florida’s system.  

Davis fears most who do not get weather warnings are those who disabled the alert system on their cellphone after that accidental early morning alert that woke up much of Florida earlier this month.  

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Steve Davis explains why it is important to enable weather alerts.

"Those alerts can be lifesavers,” said Davis. “If you live near an area that has a train derailment with a toxic cloud, an active shooter, a tornado."  

Jim Mondello admits he did get a tornado warning alert.  

"I heard it on my cellphone. They warn you on the cellphone. I never looked at it," said Mondello, who never thought of disabling the emergency notices on his cell phone.

But he said the next time he sees a weather-related one, he'll pay attention.