Damage estimated at $1M after Edgewater tornado, New Smyrna storms



EDGEWATER, Fla. - Days after an EF-1 tornado touched down in Edgewater, residents continue to clean up the damage left behind.

The tornado was part of a line of strong storms that moved across central Florida Friday afternoon, leaving heavy damage in their wake.

Channel 9's Blaine Tolison found the storms caused nearly $1 million in damage across Volusia County.

City trucks were out Monday, picking up tree limbs in the Wildwood community while the Volusia County property appraiser assessed damage in both Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach.

In Edgewater, there were four buildings heavily damaged and one home with minor roof damage totaling $723,000.

In NSB, there was $245,000 in damage to six condos at Coastal Waters.

“We just thought it was a normal afternoon Florida shower and it just picked up,” said Edgewater resident Ryan Jenkins.

The National Weather Service reported that the tornado touched down at Massey Ranch Airpark near Edgewater, flipping two planes over and damaging hangars. Repairs are not yet underway there.

On Saturday NWS meteorologists surveyed the damage on the ground.

“The large pieces of metal building weren’t only ripped, but lofted and carried great distances,” said David Sharp.

The tornado stretched 1 1/2 miles and cut a path 75 yards wide, officials said.

The airpark is open, but the area by the hangars was shut down as crews surveyed the damage after the tornado made a straight path into a residential neighborhood.

There was no damage on the runway and those who stored property inside the hangars are hopeful their insurance will help (cover the costs).

Forecasters originally said it was believed the tornado was an EF-0 with winds estimated at 70-80 mph.

By Saturday, however, the NWS said it was actually an EF-1 tornado with winds of 100-105 mph.

The storm also brought down trees, damaged roofs and destroyed sheds in the Edgewater area.

Residents in the Wildwood neighborhood were running for cover when the tornado ripped through their neighborhood.

“I was in my car and then all of a sudden everything was going around. So I ran into my neighbor’s yard and it was just crazy,” said resident Holly Woodard.

Large trees were plucked from the ground like weeds, and were thrown on top of cars and buildings.

“It was pretty wild to see some flipped-over planes kind of torn apart and the buildings just shredded,” said resident Ryan Jenkins. “There is a lot of tarps out now.  A lot of shingles from roofs are missing. A lot of trees that look like good, healthy trees are split apart and thrown across cars, so it was pretty intense.”

A kayak flew into a shed, which was torn apart.

“It was like a tunnel. It came through the back of this yard right here and went all the way up through the street,” Woodard said.

“We heard 'boom, boom, boom’ on the back wall and as you could see back here the shed was totally blown away,” said resident Sherry Austin.

Tornado spotter Nicholas Szegda was initially watching the storm on the radar before calling it in to the NWS.

“It started 40-50, and it kept increasing. The rain was blowing sideways. You could see limbs coming off of the trees,” Szegda said.

Fire officials said multiple homes have damage, but only one building at the airpark was a total loss.

“Everybody was screaming and crying. It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever been in,” Woodard said.

The storm is also being blamed for roof damage at the Coastal Waters Inn on South Atlantic Avenue in New Smyrna Beach.

Hotel guests said patio furniture was scattered everywhere.

Several callers to Channel 9 reported the tornado, including a viewer who sent video of the funnel.

The storms also forced the launch of a Delta 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to be scrubbed. Officials said during the storms the rocket was struck by lightning but did not sustain any damage.

No injuries were reported.