Heavy rainfall from Sanford to Palm Coast; Daytona to Titusville; New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange and Oak Hill, too
EDGEWATER -- Cory Dewitt knows he dodged a big one when a tornado touched down at the Massey Air Park and flipped over a couple of airplanes as it tore through several hangars Friday afternoon, damaging nerby homes as well.
The National Weather Service in Melbourne confirmed an EF-0 tornado caused the damage in Southeast Volusia, including half a dozen windows busted out of cars at a beachside motel in New Smyrna, trees toppled in Port Orange and some streets in Daytona flooded.
"I thought I was going to die," Dewitt told an Orlando TV camera crew. "I told my boss, 'Listen, it looks like a tornado.' Sure enough, we just saw debris fly. I've lived here my whole life, I've never seen weather like this."
At 4:30 p.m.a severe storm came through the City of Edgewater. Initial reports were of a tornado at West Park Avenue and Wildwood Drive.
"As units arrived and began to assess damage in the area it became apparent that there were two areas of damage – Skyway Drive and the Wildwood Subdivision," Edgewater Fire Rescue Department Capt. Jill Danigel told Headline Surfer®.
Units from Edgewater Fire Rescue, Edgewater Police Department and New Smyrna Beach Fire Department responded to assess for injuries and damage.
On Skyway Drive, a total of three large aircraft hangers sustained damage ranging from minor to extensive, major damage. One hanger was determined to be destroyed. Several occupants were in the hangars at the time, but no injuries were reported and all occupants were accounted for.
Damage in the Wildwood subdivision consisted of trees uprooted, vegetative debris in yards and on roofs with only very minor structural damage such as damaged shingles. No injuries were reported in the neighborhood and power outages were only spotty and short-lived.
Massey Ranch Airpark was re-opened to air traffic by early evening. Skyway Drive remained closed to the public throughout the evening. Only residents were being allowed to enter the Wildwood subdivision Friday evening.
Winds from the tornado were estimated between 70 and 80 miles per hour. Streets were flooded from as far north as Palm Coast in Flagler County, through Daytona Beach and Port Orange and as far south as Oak Hill and Titusville, the latter in nearby Brevard County.
Rain also forced traffic to snarl on Interstate 4 in Lake Mary and Sanford in Seminole County. Strong winds uprooted and snapped trees throughout the region, sent sheds flying in Edgewater and resulted in a half a dozen busted car windows at one hotel in New Smyrna Beach.
As much as 3 inches of rain puddled up in parts of Daytona and surrounding communities. "How did you like those storms this afternoon?" Port Orange resident Daria Cater asked rhetorically. "If we get any more water, Volusia County will sink and we might take the rest of the Florida with us."