Heightened awareness of weather systems means greater public protection during outdoor events. Damaging winds during the Spanish Gras Mardi Gras Parade on March 5 represents one example. Stage collapses at summertime state fairs were the result of thunderstorms. On March 31, the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Florida showcased its “Sun ’n Fun Fly-In,” encouraging pilots to participate in a variety of aeronautical venues. Tornadoes erupted in central Florida due to a storm system in the eastern Gulf that caused severe thunderstorms. Wind gusts from a fast-moving cold front knocked out power for 80,000 Tampa residents. More than 70 people were trapped under a show tent that collapsed from torrential rains and excessive winds. Most planes on the tarmac were flipped from the high winds.

Fastcast: Warmer.

Sunny, with a high near 86. Calm winds becoming easterly at 5 mph. Tonight: Clear, with a low about 59. Easterly winds 5 mph.