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Weather Service: Tornado Hit NW Dade Leaving Damage In Wake

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An EF-1 tornado hit parts of northwest Miami-Dade early Monday morning leaving a trail of damage in their wake, National Weather Service officials confirmed.

The tornado struck NW 50th St. and 74th Ave. with winds estimated at 107 miles per hour, officials told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench Monday afternoon after crews had surveyed the area.

Rain, which lasted in some areas for up to 45 minutes, pelted the region as whipping winds downed palm fronds, branches, and trees which in turn downed power lines and damaged homes.

At NW 74th Avenue and 50th Street in Northwest Miami-Dade, a tornado tipped over a tractor-trailer in a parking lot of an industrial area. The overturned truck damaged several cars in the lot and brought down power lines.

“I’m in shock, we are all here to get to work and we can’t work today,” said Jorge Sorzano, part owner of an aviation company located nearby.

Sorzano told D’Oench, “We are in shock because you cannot see a tornado hitting Miami. You can see it hitting Kansas, Tennessee, Louisiana but not Miami. It felt like Andrew to see something like this and its effects. I have never seen anything like this before in my 31 years here.”

Around the corner two mid-size delivery trucks had tipped over on their side. Several trees had also been uprooted, their branches scattered all over the parking lot.

“It reminds me of Hurricane Andrew, I was here for that, it’s for real like that,” said Shaun Lones who owns a business in the area.

Lones said he arrived around 3:45 a.m., right in the middle of the storm.

“I wasn’t prepared. I heard the storm before it happened. It was a really big storm, I was coming over here when I got a call from the alarm company and I saw this surprise,” said Lones.

Rick Arnold said when he got to work, he couldn’t believe the damage the storm had caused. The wind blew out the glass doors and caused a section of the ceiling which contains and A/C duct to fall.

“I’m coming here to go to work and there’s all this damage in the building, I can’t go inside,” said Arnold.

Arnold said there was insurance for the damage at VHL Aircraft, an aircraft repair company.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I came here. I know the damage a tornado can do. This just brings awareness about what a tornado can do. Thank God it didn’t happen during working hours when someone could have gotten hurt.”

While no one was hurt at Arnold’s business, he lost power for several hours and business was shut down for the day.

“We hope to be open tomorrow and let everyone know that,” he said. He said he could not estimate the damage from the storm. He did say he had insurance.

Downed power lines and sporadic roof damage were reported in several areas of Hialeah.

A roof collapsed at a home on West 3rd Avenue, where a possible tornado touched down. There were children inside the home, but Hialeah police said no injuries were reported.

Damage was everywhere you looked in one Miami Springs neighborhood. One home had a section of its roof blown off and front winds shattered by high winds and flying debris.

After the storm, neighbors worked to remove trees branches, and in some cases trees, from their house, cars and streets

“We just saw a lot of trees on top of the house. We were really scared,” said Mariette Chayeb.

She and her family heard what sounded like a train roar through around 4 a. m. They woke up to several large trees ripped from the ground and some damage to their property.

“I never thought it was gonna be this much. Our savings accounts definitely were not ready for this,” said Chayeb.

FPL lineman and subcontractors were hard at work restoring power to Miami Springs.

“I know they are trying their best to bet the power back on. Hope it is sooner,” said Mark Lorenzo.

But there could be a wait as linemen have to clear trees that have taken down power lines.

For Mike and Maria Paez, after a hard day of clearing debris, they learned it could take a day or two.

Some area residents said their cellphones were abuzz overnight with previous reports of a possible tornado. Within minutes, they said, the weather turned.

“It sounded like hail but it was actually debris hitting the back window,” said Rick Carral.

Carral said he couldn’t believe the extent of the damage, especially to the home across the street from his which lost part of its roof and front window. He added the damage was kind of random.

“Across the street from me, I have somebody whose house is messed up and my house is fine. I guess that’s the nature of these things,” Carral said.

While some dealt with damage to their homes, others assessed what had happened to their cars.

“My bumper is missing. The top of the car is missing. My gas tank is open. The other side of the car is missing. There’s glass through my window,” said Xristina Skandalis.

County Commissioner Rebecca Sosa, who represents the area, was out early checking out the damage. She urged residents to call their insurance companies as soon as possible. She added that county resources would be called in to help clean up the area and help in any way they could.

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