Tornado tears through condos in Crescent Beach during Irma

A total of six tornadoes touched down on the First Coast as a result of Hurricane Irma, including an EF-2 that tore through condos at Summerhouse Beach & Racquet Club in Crescent Beach, Florida early Monday morning.

The property manager and resident, Jon Davis, told First Coast News that four buildings received catastrophic damage from the tornado and another four buildings were left with major damage.

The tornado was clocked at about 110 mph to 130 mph winds. Only three people, including Davis, were there during the time it struck around 1:30 a.m.

"I was here and I will not be here again," Davis said.

Davis, who is from New England, said he and his wife decided to ride out the storm because they were under the impression they would be safe there during the hurricane. He said the wind howled and "was steady" throughout the night, but at one brief moment, that sound changed.

"As an airplane guy, it sounded like a jet engine," Davis said. "I mean it was loud... this was just a bit above and beyond."

During the day, Davis and the two others assessed the damage. They saw debris from the roof spread out throughout the lawn, even a wooden block speared deep into the ground. Metal bars were also found bent from the strong winds.

Residents salvaged what they could, but some units couldn't be saved and are scheduled to be bulldozed.

The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down and said it spanned to be about 300 yards wide, or about three football fields long. It started in the ocean before moving onto land. It tore through the condos around 1:30 a.m. then disappeared over the Intracoastal.

Five other tornadoes were confirmed throughout the First Coast: Three in St. Johns County (St. Augustine twice, Vilano Beach), one in Flagler County (Marineland) and two others in Nassau County (Amelia Island and Fort Clinch).

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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