PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — An EF-0 tornado touched down in a Pinellas County condominium community as a strong round of storms swept through the area early Sunday morning.
The Boca Ciega Point retirement community saw a number of condominiums damaged by what was confirmed to be an overnight tornado.
A Tornado Warning was issued for parts of the county around 1 a.m. The National Weather Service said a waterspout likely formed over Boca Ciega Bay around 1:07 a.m., came onshore and moved about 30 yards along Boca Ciega Point Boulevard.
The peak intensity of the storm reached 75 mph and damaged a few homes before quickly dissipating.
Residents in the community woke up to metal and aluminum in their yards, toppled trees and light poles, damage to garage doors, Florida rooms, and roofs.
“It’s kind of hard to describe, not really like a sonic boom, but more of a hard pressure sound,” resident Bill Phillips told News Channel 8 Sunday morning.
Ruan Vosloo, his wife and two children live on Island Avenue. Debris from Boca Ciega Point blew over into their yard and street.
“My wife looked out the window and there was stuff flying across the yard,” Vosloo said. “The house bumped.”
Pinellas County sent out text alerts and calls to people warning them about the tornado.
Daniel Noah with the National Weather Service says those alerts went out two minutes before the tornado rolled through, but the hope is to improve the timing of those warnings in the future.
“There were no injuries or fatalities which is always the best case scenario, and everyone I talked to heard the warning before the storm hit and that’s what we want,” Noah said.
Vosloo says his family is fortunate.
“Obviously there are people down the street who aren’t as fortunate today,” Vosloo said.