Edgewater residents clean up damage from EF1 tornado

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Residents in Edgewater spent Saturday are cleaning up the damage from an EF1 tornado.

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

A line of strong storms, including a tornado, moved across central Florida Friday afternoon leaving damage in their wake.

The National Weather Service reported that a tornado touched down at Massey Ranch Airpark near Edgewater, flipping two planes over and damaging hangars.

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 one and a half miles and cut a path 75 yards wide.

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

There was no damage on the runway and people who stored property inside the hangars are hopeful their insurance will help pick up the pieces.

Forecasters originally said it was believed the tornado was an EF0 with winds estimated at 70-80 mph.

By Saturday, however, the National Weather Service said it was actually an EF-1 tornado with winds of 100-105 miles per hour.

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

Residents in the Wildwood neighborhood in Edgewater 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 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 National Weather Service.

“It started 40 to 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 WFTV Channel 9 reported a tornado in the Edgewater area. One viewer sent a video of the tornado.

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.

Officials will make a fourth attempt to get the rocket off the pad at 6:51 p.m. Saturday.

No injuries were reported.

Follow Tom Terry on Twitter: @TTerryWFTV