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Severe Weather, Tornado Warnings Shut Down Much of Sun ’n Fun’s Thursday Flying

A long front hit Lakeland around noon and just kept on rolling through.

Severe Weather, Tornado Warnings Shut Down Much of Sun ’n Fun’s Thursday Flying

A line of powerfully convective weather started rolling through Lakeland around noon on Thursday, effectively shutting down Sun ’n Fun’s flying for the afternoon, though tornado watches issued earlier in the morning were cancelled with no funnel clouds reported in the vicinity of Lakeland.

By 2:30 p.m. EDT, the storm front, which was moving in from the southwest from the Gulf of Mexico, was packing lightning and gusty winds. Lakeland Linder Airport, the site of the Sun ‘n Fun event, was spared the worst of it, at least initially.

The storm, which is bisecting the state, is expected to finish passing through by late afternoon, but by then, there will be a lot of standing water around the field, and the ground at the parking lots and campgrounds will be saturated and muddy, especially where vehicles have been driven (or attempted to be driven) through. 

Early morning low weather prevented hundreds of planes from launching to beat the arriving front, though by mid-morning, it had lifted enough to allow many flights to depart. Heading north, the weather was clear. Plane & Pilot senior editor Jeremy King departed from LAL during that modest window and safely arrived home a few hours later.

Many campers at LAL aren’t as lucky and face a very soggy next few hours, at least.

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Find more of Plane & Pilot’s Sun ’n Fun 2022 coverage here. 

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