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Possible Tornado Touches Down in Palm Coast, Damaging Homes in B and C Sections and Downing Power Lines; No Injuries Reported

| December 14, 2013

Heavy winds struck in the area of Palm Coast's B and C Sections.

Heavy winds struck in the area of Palm Coast’s B and C Sections.

Last Updated: Sunday, 3:30 a.m.

Note: See Sunday’s updated story with images and interviews from the scene.

Heavy winds, possibly a tornado, struck portions of Palm Coast’s B and C Sections at around 7:02 p.m. Saturday evening (Dec. 14), damaging several homes, downing power lines and closing streets.

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Damaged homes were reported on Colchester Lane and Bainbridge Lane. No injuries have been reported.

As the evening wore on, reports of damaged homes–damaged roofs and damaged porches–accumulated, especially in the central part of the B Section. But with the actual wind danger well past, authorities were struggling with onlookers and drivers gathering in areas where damaged power lines and downed trees were posing a danger. At 5 Bannerwood Lane, for example, a large tree-top was dangling, endangering anyone walking below.

Florida Power and Light was reporting power outages to 2,000 to 2,500 customers. But by 3:30 a.m., the number of customers without power had been reduced to fewer than 300, all in the most-heavily storm-affected area of the B Section.

“The fire chief says that from his assessment,” Palm Coast spokeswoman Cindi Lane said at close to 10 p.m., referring to Fire Chief Mike Beadle, “it does appear that it was a tornado.”

Sheriff’s deputies, Undersheriff Rick Staly said, has restricted access to the neighborhoods most affected, “requiring proof of ID that they have a legitimate reason to be in the area.” Some 30 sheriff’s units have fanned out in the area. “We don’t need sightseers in the area right now,” Staly said, asking that residents stay out of the way. Trespassers may face arrest.

Little by little in the course of the evening, authorities gathered a house-by-house inventory of the damage. From their reports, it appeared that a tornado had likely touched down and perhaps skipped some areas and touched down again, but most of the damage was minor to moderate, with a few houses more severely damaged.

Minor damage was reported at 44 Bainbridge, minor to moderate damage reported at 43 Bainbridge. The porch collapsed at 85 Colchester, where parts of the roof also collapsed. There was some damage at 87 Colchester Lane. There was heavy damage at 39 Bannbury Lane. Heavy damage was also reported at 36 Bannbury. A tree was reported to have struck a house, but the address of that house is unknown at this time.

There are also reports of house damage on Farnsworth Drive, but those reports–unlike those on Bannbury, Bainbridge and Colchester–have not been confirmed by rescue personnel on scene.

There is a report of damage on Cedarview, where a screen enclosure was damaged. Cedarview is a considerable distance east from the area that sustained the most damage. Shortly after 8 p.m., officials reported some damage to roofs in the 20, 30 and 40 blocks of Barring Place. Number 28 Barring had roof damage, Number 30 had heavy damage, number 38 had moderate damage, numbers 32 and 35, 40, 49 and 61 had minor damage.

Heavy damage was reported at and near the intersection of Bannerwood Lane and Bayside Drive, where water pipes were also damaged, all the way to Barring Place. At least one home in that area lost its roof. The homes at 38 and 42 Bannerwood had minor damage. Some roads in that area are not passable. Minor damage was reported at 9 Bannerwood. Trees were reported against power lines at the intersection of Ballenger and Barring Place, and at 75 Baltimore Lane. A tree had struck a house at 61 Baltimore. Damage is being reported on Birchwood Place, where the houses at numbers 20 and 21 have minor damage, and at 22, moderate damage.

In the C’s, a house at 92 Cimmaron Drive had damage to its roof and its porch, though the house itself appeared structurally sound. The house at 3 Comanche Court had minor to moderate damage.

Palm Coast has activated its road crews to clear roads of tree limbs, while building officials will be inspecting homes at 23 Bayside and two homes on Banburry to decide whether the houses are livable or need to be evacuated.

Road closures may be taking place between Belle Terre west to U.S. 1 and Palm Coast Parkway to Pine Lakes. Florida Power and Light trucks have arrived in the area to repair downed power lines.

One patient was reported in the area of Bayside Drive, being prepared for evacuation, but it was not clear whether the trauma alert was due to the weather emergency, or had happened to take place in the same geography.

The area struck by the heavy winds is to the east of Belle Terre Parkway, north of Palm Coast Parkway and south of Bird of Paradise.

Firefighters and sheriff’s deputy are at the moment (8 p.m.) conducting welfare checks in the area–meaning that they are going door to door to check on the welfare of residents.

Fire officials were contending with people on bicycles and other pedestrians looking around and interfering with first responders–and asking for deputies’ help to clear the area of “gawkers.”

At 8:26 p.m., an official at the National Weather Service in Jacksonville said that office was still waiting to hear reports from emergency management personnel at the scene to make a more precise determination as to what took place.

At 7:02 p.m., the NWS reported a “possible tornado touchdown on Brittany Lane,” with reports of trees down, power outages, and tops of large pine trees snapped off at Banner Lane and Bannerwood Lane.

The weather forced an early en d to Palm Coast’s Starlight Parade in Town Center.

The parade started at 6 p.m.. It was about half way over when the deputy Palm Coast fire chief, Jerry Forte, was watching the radar and could see the cell approaching. “They pulled the plug on the parade,” Palm Coast Spokeswoman Cindi Lane said, and the announcement was made over the public address system that “bad weather was approaching and people should go to their cars, and the parade was cancelled at that point. Chief [Mike] Beadle was the announcer of the parade so he took off his chief Santa hat and put on his Chief Fire hat, and went to the tornado.”

Lane spoke at a press conference quickly prepared in the presence of Staly and Flagler County’s new emergency director, Kevin Guthrie, among others. The briefing was held at the Flagler County Public Library in Palm Coast at about 9:40 p.m.

Storm notes: At 6:34 PM Flagler County REACT activated their storm spotter operation.

At 7:13 PM REACT relayed a report of a tornado in Indian Trails to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.

Ten stations were in the net including participation from CERT.

At 6:55 p.m. 13 Radio Amateurs licensed by the Federal Communications and members of the Flagler Emergency Communications Association opened a net on one of their repeaters to share and communicate weather reports through the Skywarn System to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.

At 2:36 a.m. the National Weather Service in Jacksonville issued another tornado warning for Flagler county until 3 a.m. At 2:35 a.m., meteorologists had been tracking a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado 6 miles west of Bunnell, moving northeast at 45 mph, with other locations in the warning including Palm Coast and Flagler Beach. The warning expired without reports of a tornado.

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25 Responses for “Possible Tornado Touches Down in Palm Coast, Damaging Homes in B and C Sections and Downing Power Lines; No Injuries Reported”

  1. Lucky says:

    Bridgehaven was also hit. Pray no one was hurt.

    • Megan says:

      What has happened on bridgehaven??

      • billy says:

        my friend lives over on brittany off of bridgehaven his and his neigbors pools are caved in his house is damages theres a ton of debris i live off briarvue i have no clue about outside cause i havent went out yet

    • Anonymous says:

      Tornado continued on and hit Ocean Oaks in Ocean Hammock at about 7:30. Five homes damaged.

    • james hall says:

      People should stay indoors, preferable in a room with no windows and no walls are exterior walls

    • Debbie Turcotte says:

      The rain, lightning, and thunder caused us to shut our Living Nativity down so I left for home at 7PM. Got hit by the tornado in my truck. Ended up on corner of Bridgehaven and Belle Terre. A lot of damage to my vehicle and though I was covered with glass I escaped injury! Trees on houses on Bridgehaven.

  2. idlehands says:

    Brookside has damage. I live 2 streets over and had to dodge trees and downed signs literally seconds after it blew through.

  3. Caitlyn says:

    I was outside a shop and ducked inside. Power lines were thrashing about and the transformers and insulators on the pole smashed to pieces to the ground.

  4. Steve says:

    I live just a few blocks over and as soon as it hit i went to check to make sure no one was hurt and wow. There were giant pieces of trees just all over the road, there was a street sign laying flat down. trees that fell on houses. I also saw something in a front lawn and did not know what it was it turns out it was a piece of someones roof bigger then my car in someones front lawn. Its amazing the power of mother nature. Hopefully no one is hurt.

  5. noname says:

    2733 homes were without powet

  6. Glad I left Palm Coast says:

    EF-1 or EF-0 or severe micro burst , glad no one hurt.. Were any warnings posted during the day?

    • Dzee says:

      EF-1, no warnings during the day ., but did get an alert message for tornado warning and to take shelter, which I did right away and I think 10 minutes later it came through. It was fast but very scary!!!

  7. ashley says:

    Cherokee ct also had bad damage to pool cages and damage to sheds. Things are all over the place.

  8. Drostan says:

    Came home at like 12:30 from Walmart, cops asked me three times where I was going, even after showing them my ID, proving that I live in the neighborhood. They were pretty rude, shone the flashlight directly in my face.
    I hate being treated like a criminal, when I’m just going home.

    • Geezer says:

      There’s a famous painting by Norman Rockwell, “The Runaway.”
      This was the image of policemen I grew up with.
      Most cops were approachable and polite then. We looked up to them.

      Times have changed, people have changed to the point
      where the “Norman Rockwell cop” is a rare animal.

      Whenever you’re stopped, be polite and cooperative.
      Things can go south in a heartbeat if the officer doesn’t like you,
      and you may end up being fingerprinted and booked.
      You’ll see your picture on the internet long after charges are dropped.

      Most of these men and women are good folks, but there is a large faction
      of these people who are on power trips and enjoy giving orders.
      Some are trigger happy. An ex-deputy from Flagler Beach is facing
      some serious jail time for attempting to kill a Flagler fireman in a road rage encounter.

      Understand that cops are necessary because many people don’t obey
      laws or follow the rules. Being pleasant and patient with police personnel can
      go a long way, and it costs nothing. Ask those you love to also take the high road
      with cops. Live by the golden rule, especially with police.

  9. POWER LINES STINK!!!!!!! says:

    Instead of spending money on red light cameras how about we start putting our power lines underground to prevent power outages from downed power lines. We are so close to the beach we should have better weather prevention for our power source in case of hurricanes and tornadoes. It can be done and should be done. When the hurricanes hit in 2005 I lost power for 4 days in Kissimmee instead of weeks or months because we had no power lines above ground. What a difference having no dangerous power lines plus having the power put back on quickly after so much damage. Maybe Palm Coast should start looking into making a change that would actually make a difference than wasting our money on something that really is not making us safer.

  10. Acretens says:

    It went right through our backyard it feels like it was right over us! We live on bayside, we were totally oblivious to the tornado warning! But when we heard the sound of that wind and saw the flashing blue lights of transformers blowing through our windows we knew, it was definitely a tornado. One of the most terrifying moments of our lives! Then later another tornado warning, we’ve spent most the night huddled in our bathroom listening to our weather radio! Thank God it is over now!

  11. barbie says:

    Glad no one seems to have been hurt! Can I just ask, though, what the heck is wrong with people around here? Why would you stop by to gawk at the neighborhood, and get in the way of folks trying to assess damage or injured people? What on earth do you think you’re going to see?

    Normally I don’t condone rudeness on the part of law enforcement, but I can only imagine that’s why the cops were so rude to our commenter Drostan, who actually lived there–because so many people were milling around that didn’t belong there and just stupidly clogged the area for no good reason other than their own selfish desires.

    Use your heads! If you don’t live there, stay out of the way!

  12. Merrill Shapiro says:

    What terrific detailed coverage when we need it the most! Well done, FlaglerLive!

  13. rhweir says:

    I did not hear one warning siren. I suppose that’s too expensive for PC. We were totally oblivious.

    • Dzee says:

      yes I did get text alerts of tornado warning and to take shelter immediately on my phone……I did take shelter right away and then heard tornado. I live on Bayside but one of the lucky ones…..this was soooooo scary….so sad for the people that lost their homes….

    • Just a thought says:

      This is the first tornado ever in Palm Coast. With today’s access to alert devices, cell phones, weather alert radios, etc., why does it fall upon the city? You need to be responsible for your own safety.

  14. Rocky Mac says:

    Drostan: No excuse for rudeness, but can you imagine people who want to do you harm or burglarize the victims getting into your neighborhood? Then you would be critical of the poor policing. Don’t forget this was a scary situation.

  15. confidential says:

    Palm Coast Parkway 4980’s St Joe Business Center had one of the huge Christmas decorated light poles in the parking lot in the ground by Caribbean Treats the flag on the front of Johns appliance in the floor and the pole light by the store also slanted as well as all the stop signs and mailboxes coming out in to the parkway of the Discount Tire in that strip mall. Stores not affected.

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