LOXAHATCHEE (CBSMiami) – Thursday morning’s wicked weather spawned three confirmed tornadoes in western Broward and Palm Beach counties.
CBS4 meteorologist Craig Setzer, who was storm chasing, snapped several pictures of several tornadoes in the Everglades northeast of U.S. 27 near the Broward/Palm Beach border. He said that he saw as many as three embedded in the line of storms in the outer bands of Andrea.
“The first tornado was a very thin, like a water spout, tube type of tornado. The second one was bigger tornado that grew to maybe 100 to 200 yards wide at its base,” said Setzer. “Then I saw a third tornado that started out as two funnels rotating around each other that descended. None of the tornadoes lasted terribly long.”
Setzer added that tornadoes that last on the ground for a few minutes doesn’t happen very often in our area.
“Seeing tornadoes, at least long lasting tornadoes, in Florida is very rare down in South Florida. Usually we see water spouts or very brief touch downs. So to watch this go through a cycle and tornado several times was pretty spectacular,” said Setzer.
Around 7 a.m. there were reports of a possible tornado touch down near 130th and Tangerine in The Acreage in western Palm Beach County.
The National Weather Service confirmed a the tornado in The Acreage was rated as an EF-1 with winds of approximately 100 miles per hour. The twister traveled two miles and ranged from 50-100 yards wide.
Heavy rain and wind across the region damaged homes, knocked down trees along with power lines and pushed at least two cars around in the Acreage. A woman was airlifted to the hospital after she was injured when a tree fell though her roof.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue crews reported heavy damage to several homes including some which had their roofs destroyed. Firefighters went door to door in the Acreage to check on the residents.
In Loxahatchee, heavy winds left a mile path of destruction. Trees and power lines were knocked down along with some damage to homes.
“At 6:57 a.m., it started sounding like a freight train was outside. I ran over to the other side of the house and the oak tree came through the front windows,” said Courtney Carroll.
When she went outside, she found the wind had flipped over a horse trailer and part of her roof was destroyed.
“It lasted about 30 to 45 seconds. As soon as it was over my first thoughts were ‘Oh my gosh, I have to go check on my horses’, I have two of them. So I went outside and checked on them. A couple were loose but thank God they were okay,” said Carroll.
Pastor Sherman Dibble of Horizon Baptist Church said the wind toppled a cell phone tower that T-Mobile had built in the shape of a cross which used to be in the front of his church.
“We certainly are shown every day that we have very little control over nature. Nature comes and goes, you think about those poor folks in Oklahoma and through the Midwest out there, they deal with this sort of thing all of the time,” said Dibble. “We’re just thankful there was no loss of life and we are rejoicing that things can be repaired.”
Storms continued throughout the day Thursday making for a messy afternoon commute. CBS4 News received pictures of dark clouds and ominous skies across South Florida.
The storms left several hundred people without power. As of Thursday night, 660 homes in Miami-Dade and 280 in Broward were without power according to FPL.
Crews will be working overnight to get power restored.