NWS confirms tornado damaged 40 homes in Volusia County
Updated On: Dec 12 2012 12:37:51 PM EST
The National Weather Service confirmed on Tuesday that a tornado with winds reaching speeds of 110 mph damaged nearly 40 homes in Volusia County.
Dozens of homes in the Terra Mar Village subdivision, located between Edgewater and Oak Hill, were damaged Monday, according to Volusia County deputies. Some of the homes lost roofs, and trees and power lines were knocked down in the storm, officials said.
In all 90 homes were damaged, 40 had major damage and 5 were destroyed, causing $1.7 million in losses, according to the property appraiser.
"We surveyed the ground damage along a mile track of damage and we indicated that it was a tornado that touched down," said NWS meteorologist Scott Spratt.
Spratt said the tornado, which ranked as a high-end EF1, was fairly big for a typical Florida tornado. Spratt said the tornado looked to be at about 150 meters, factoring in the siding and roofing dangling from the trees as a sign of uplifting winds.
Local 6 news helicopter Sky 6 flew over the complex Tuesday, showing the widespread damage and depicting the tornado's path appearing to begin on the west side of the complex. Spratt says the tornado's path went over the St. Johns River as a water spout and then NWS isn't clear on what happened.
Authorities also released the 911 calls on Tuesday of residents reporting the tornado ripping through their neighborhood.
"We just had something go through here-I'm not going to say it was a tornado because I didn't see it, but it took the roofs off of several houses and we've got a lot of debris in the area," a caller calmly told dispatchers.
No serious injuries were reported, although two people suffered minor scratches that didn’t require medical attention, according to deputies.
Florida Power and Light is trying to restore power to all homes in the subdivision.
Residents in the neighborhood stayed in high spirits as they tell Local 6 they were thankful no one was seriously injured.
"What can you do? Pray it doesn't rain," one woman told Local 6. "But we are going to have a merry Christmas because we're all here and all alive."
Dustin and Daniele Giamo told Local 6 they lost all of their keepsakes from their wedding, except for a framed picture. Dustin Giamo said he had to crawl into his home to retrieve it.
Janice Adams, 72, says the storm ripped through her home in a matter of seconds.
"I grabbed onto the door frame and just hung on there for life. Literally," said Adams. "The rain, the wind, everything just exploded inside the house."
Adams' 75-year-old roommate Darla Johnson was trying to shut the windows, but it was too late.
"The lighting hit that utility pole and everything went blue and bright and I said 'Oh my God. Janice, Janice where are you?,'" said Johnson.
Their house was lifted off its foundation. Their belongings were sucked out of the home through shattered windows. They spent today with relatives picking through rubble looking for anything to salvage.
"It actually sucked my Tiffany lamp out of the window and we found it unbroken can you believe that? I can't believe that," said Johnson.
One block over, over a dozen people were outside Kim Eskew's home, helping her remove a giant oak tree.
"Another friend of mine has already been here who is a roofer and he's got everything secured up there until the insurance company could come," said Eskew.
Luckily, she and her five-year-old son were out to dinner when the tornado touched down.
"I didn't ask any of these people to show up, they're here, they were coming whether I asked them to or not so I couldn't be more happy and more blessed," said Eskew.
According to deputies, other calls received in Volusia County included a handful of reports of trees and power lines down, blown transformers and traffic lights out.
Video from Local 6 viewers also showed suspected tornadoes in Orange County and Brevard County, but no serious injuries were reported. A picture taken by Local 6 reporter Nicole Pesecky shows what appeared to be funnel cloud in the Ocoee/Apopka area. Law enforcement officials also reported seeing a funnel cloud in the Geneva area.
Local 6 urges viewers to send in pictures of the weather in the area to IShotNews@ClickOrlando.com.
Check back with ClickOrlando.com and watch Local 6 News for full coverage.
Copyright 2012 by ClickOrlando.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.