BOCA RATON (CBS4) – Thursday’s powerful spring storm packed such a punch, the National Weather Service confirms a tornado touched down in Boca Raton.
NWS officials tell CBS4′s Carey Codd that an EF0 tornado touched down just before 3 p.m. in the area of 3000 N. Federal Highway. The twister packed winds of 70 miles per hour.
Several homes and businesses suffered minimal damage.
The twister ranked a zero, the lowest on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which classifies the tornado as “weak”.
Sherry Ferrante and her family cleaned up the yard of her Boca Raton home Thursday evening hours after they got quite a scare.
“All of a sudden it was this burst of really intense, really strong wind,” she said.
Ferrante took her family in the middle of the house. Minutes later they found that the tornado twisted the metal top of her boat, ripped out a neighbor’s tree and left a mess in her backyard. She said she’s seen other tornadoes here but not like this.
“Nothing was as intense and compact as that was,” she said. “It was such a force. It was a force.”
The tornado toppled a metal sign from a nearby business – Bike America. It broke trees in two and tore a 7 foot piece of roof out of a doctor’s office. The hole in the roof left the office flooded and pieces of ceiling scattered on the floor. By nightfall the building had a red tag meaning it can’t be occupied until the roof is fixed.
The National Weather Service says these weak tornadoes can pop up during these strong storms.
“It can be quick as we head into the rainy season these thunderstorms develop really quick especially with the sea breeze influence,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Dan Gregoria.
A few blocks away on NE 28 Terrace several homes sustained minor damage — fences were knocked down, a screen enclosure was torn apart and pieces of homes strewn about.
During the day, in western Boca heavy rains flooded streets stalling cars and making travel difficult.
“Everywhere I go it’s like this,” said Edward Scalzitti, who tried to help his friend who’s car stalled in the water. “They had the roads closed down.”
Ultimately, it’s a reminder to everyone of how quickly the South Florida weather can change.
“You can’t pause to wonder,” said Ferrante. “You have to react and be proactive.”
First responders are not aware of any injuries from the tornado and National Weather Service meteorologists say with more strong weather anticipated Friday it’s important for everyone to pay attention to the forecast. They say that if the weather becomes dangerous, get to safety.