CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (WFLA) — A tornado cut a path of destruction in Crystal River just before 2:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast took 8 On Your Side to what he described as the hardest-hit area within the county.
He described the scattered debris saying, “A lot of this is the roofs and the trusts that held these roofs together, and you know we’ve got a commercial fishing operation here, so you see some crab traps and all of the things that go with the commercial fishing industry.”
Kayaks were flipped over and several buildings were destroyed.
You can see the destruction in the photos below.
It’s something the sheriff calls “catastrophic damage” to a community still recovering from Hurricane Idalia.
“Six weeks ago, when Idalia came to shore, these businesses had many feet of water in them,” he said. “They’re still in the process of recovering from Hurricane Idalia.”
“They’ve got a long ways to go and now with the windows busted out and roofs ripped off and all of this debris that’s scattered across this business,” he continued. “It’s going to be a long time before they can get back to opening their doors and greeting customers.”
He said this comes as many people from up north will travel down to Citrus County during the winter months.
Prendergast believes the destruction from the tornado will have an impact on the county’s economy.
But he says, most importantly, no one was killed.
Though rubble is left behind.
8 On Your Side reporter Nicole Rogers pointed to a van overturned saying, “This is a first-hand look at when you say take shelter, it means take shelter.”
“Take shelter, you’re darn right,” Sheriff Prendergast replied. “If you ignore our warnings you imperial yourself and heaven forbid if somebody would’ve been trapped in this vehicle, then we’ve got to risk first responders’ lives who have to get these people over here who are trapped.”