Undetected Crystal River tornado touches down in Florida's 'dead zone'

An undetected tornado surprised Crystal River residents on Sunday when it touched down in a portion of Florida's "dead zone," leaving behind a trail of destruction. 

Authorities said no one was hurt when the twister ripped through the west side of Crystal River.

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office said residents were not alerted of a tornado watch or a warning because the tornado was reportedly "too small" to register on the National Weather Service's radar.

The FOX 35 Storm Team said another likely issue is that the tornado was too far from any radar site to detect the low level rotation needed to issue that warning.

Meteorologist Brooks Garner said the tornado was "almost like a waterspout". It formed over the Crystal River and then worked inland. 

"So it just completely misses the rotation. You can see the rain, but it can't see the rotation. That's how that was missed," Garner said.

NOAA report acknowledges ‘tornado dead zone’

There are multiple radar sites around Florida, including in Tallahassee, Ruskin and Jacksonville, but this tornado appeared to occur in what is often referred to as a "dead zone" where there is no radar site to detect rotation.

That area encompasses about 700,000 people. 

"This is a problem. It would be very beneficial if we had a radar site, maybe in Dunnellon or maybe in westernmost Marion County. That would help a lot for sure," Garner said.