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Palm Coast Mayor Declares State of Local Emergency as Tornado Details Emerge

| December 16, 2013

Ground zero of the Palm Coast tornado of Dec. 14. (© FlaglerLive)

Ground zero of the Palm Coast tornado of Dec. 14. (© FlaglerLive)

Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts declared a state of local emergency this afternoon (Dec. 16) as the community moves into recovery and rebuilding following Saturday’s tornado that damaged at least 171 houses in the B, C and F sections of Palm Coast, the city announced. (See details of the damage and residents’ accounts here.)

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The state of local emergency is distinct from a state or federal emergency declaration, which would have released state or federal aid dollars. That has not taken place. But a state of local emergency gives the city more freedom and authority to address the storm’s aftermath. The city may now apply for state and federal assistance, expedite permitting for construction and debris removal, implement a system of trash and debris removal beyond the normal collection schedul, access state assistance for regulation and enforcement of licensing and worker’s compensation insurance, and access additional services and resources from Flagler County and the state.

At least 171 houses were affected, with seven houses destroyed, 22 houses with moderate damage and 142 houses partially damaged.

“The city,” Palm Coast announced in a release this afternoon, “is using all available resources to assist affected homeowners and property owners, and is receiving assistance from Flagler County Emergency Management, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and the State of Florida.”

Starting Monday morning, the city was expediting permitting and inspections for affected properties. Building inspectors, code officers, landscape architects, tree inspectors and arborists were in the affected neighborhoods working one-on-one with homeowners to assist with clean-up and inquiries.

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation officials were also Palm Coast to help protect residents from unlicensed contractors and unscrupulous business practices. State officials are also working with local law enforcement to catch unlicensed contractors. The city is reminding residents to carefully consider the hiring of a contractor. State law requires owners to use a licensed contractor. Unlicensed contractors may charge less, but they often do sub-standard work, and they put residents at substantial financial risk should something go wrong with the job. Before hiring a contractor, ask to see a copy of his or her license and liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Their license number should be shown on business cards, contracts and vehicles. Then call the Building Department at 386-986-3780 to verify the license. The Building Department is happy to search our database and the state to check for active licenses.

A licensed contractor will always pull the permit for the property owner. An unlicensed contractor will ask the homeowner to obtain the required city permit or will tell you a permit or inspection isn’t needed – those are both warning signs.

Watch Photographer Michael Randazzo’s Aerial Survey of the Damage

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office will continue its heavy law enforcement presence in the affected neighborhoods to protect citizens, homes and property and to keep traffic flow moving in areas where there is still significant debris and residents and contractors are cleaning up and beginning repairs.

Debris pick-up schedules: In the affected areas in the B, C and F Sections, the City will be working daily to pick up debris the residents pile up street-side. From now until it is no longer needed, there will be daily pickups by city crews and the City’s contractor, Waste Pro. If debris is not being picked up in a timely manner, please call the City’s Customer Service number at 386/986-2360.

Donations and Volunteerism Coordination: Donations and volunteer efforts will be accepted for tornado victims. Flagler County Volunteer Services is coordinating donations and people who want to volunteer in the recovery effort. Please call Flagler County Volunteer Services at 386/597-2950 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For more information, contact Cindi Lane, communications and marketing manager for Palm Coast, at 386/986-3708.

On Monday, the National Weather Service released a narrative analyzing the path and mechanics of the tornado that struck at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Between 6:55 and 7:10 p.m. that evening, the service reported, a tornado with maximum strength of EF1 touched down and crossed northern sections of Palm Coast. The tornado initially touched down North of Espanola on an intermittent track. The tornado then intensified to its maximum strength, 95 to 105 mph, traveling across the B Section of Palm Coast on a continuous path ranging in width from approximately 75 yards to a maximum of around 150 yards on Bannbury lane. The tornado then weakened as it moved northeast toward the coast, with a path width of 25 to 50 yards across the F Section and the Hammock.

The location of the initial touchdown was near 29.52 degrees north Latitude and 81.31 degrees west longitude. The location of the final damage was near 29.61 degrees north latitude and 81.19 degrees West longitude. The total distance between the initial touchdown And final damage is approximately 9.5 miles, with the longest continuous damage path approximately 1 mile in the B section.

The National Weather Service noted in its statement: “Our thoughts are with those that had storm damage and wish a speedy recovery getting homes repaired quickly. The National Weather Service would like to thank those homeowners who graciously allowed The NWS to survey the damage and provide important information as to what exactly took place. The NWS would also like to thank our emergency management partners in Flagler County for insightful information and their assistance in the survey.”

Numerous inquiries were logged regarding the hstory of tornadoes in the city and in the county. Bob Pickering, the emergency management technician, tabulated the history of such events going back to 1970. It confirmed that as far as Palm Coast as an incorporated city–that is, since 1999–Saturday’s was the first tornado. But the city before incorporation was hit by a tornado in 1986 and 1982. Pickering’s documentation of storm reports and total rainfalls appears below the table.

Recorded Tornadoes and Waterspouts in Flagler County and Palm Coast, 1970-2013

F Rating
July 5, 1970
Not recorded
July 3, 1979
Not recorded
Sept. 3, 1979
Not recordedHurricane David
April 1, 1982
Palm Coast (Unincorporated)Made path through woods south of Palm Coast
June 22, 1983
Offshore Flagler BeachWaterspout
Aug. 12, 1983
Not recorded
Nov. 20, 1983
MarinelandHotel lost its roof, docks lost their cleats, other damage
March 14, 1986
Palm Coast (Unincorporated)Damaged homes
March 14, 1986
Palm Coast (Unincorporated)Blew AC units off of industrial buildings
March 7, 1987
Not recorded
Dec. 15, 1987
The Mondex (Daytona North)Damaged homes
March 3, 1991
Not recorded
Sept. 17, 1994
Not recorded
Sept. 14, 2001
Beverly BeachWaterspout, Tropical Storm Gabrielle
Sept. 14, 2001
Western FlaglerTropical Storm Gabrielle
Sept. 14, 2001
Rural FlaglerTrees downed, Tropical Storm Gabrielle
Sept. 14, 2001
Rural FlaglerTrees downed, Tropical Storm Gabrielle
Sept. 5, 2004
Rural FlaglerHurricane Francis - More than one tornado
Sept. 25, 2004
Rural FlaglerHurricane Jeanne - More than one tornado
Sept. 26, 2004
Rural FlaglerHurricane Jeanne - More than one tornado
March 16, 2007
Near Flagler County AirportPilot reported, but no evidence exists of the storm
July 22, 2007
Flagler BeachWaterspout that hit Flagler Beach, minor damage
Dec. 14, 2013
Palm CoastDemolished seven homes, damaged upwards of 150 others in B, F and C Sections
Source: Bob Pickering, Flagler County Emergency.

Storm Events: Time / Event / Location / Source / Notes

1833hrs / Significant Weather Alert / Northeast Flagler County / NWS
1834hrs / Spotter Nets Activated
1854hrs / Tornado Warning / North Flagler / NWS / Until 1945hrs
1855hrs / Skywarn Spotter Nets alerted
1856hrs Code Red Call Out activated for Tornado Warning. / Code Red
1907hrs/ First Report of Tornado Damage / Brittney Lane Palm Coast / FCSO – 911
1913hrs / Tornado Report (Loud Roar) / Indian Trails / REACT – Skywarn Net / REACT reported load roar associated with loss of power in Indian Trails, relayed to NWS
1916hrs / Multiple reports of tornado damage / from Indian Trails to Palm Harbor / Multiple reports of Tornado Damage apparent path from Indian Trails to Hammock.
1918hrs / NWS Cancels Tornado Warning as storm is off coast.
0151hrs / Significant Weather Alert / Flagler County / NWS
0156hrs / Spotter Nets Activated
0223hrs / Severe Thunderstorm Warning / Flagler County / NWS
0224hrs Code Red Call Out activated for Severe Thunderstorm Warning. / Code Red
0235hrs / Tornado Warning / Flagler Coutny / NWS
0236hrs Code Red Call Out activated for Tornado Warning. / Code Red
0300hrs / Tornado Warning expired no damage reports
0329hrs / Significant Weather Alert / Flagler County / NWS
0415hrs / All bulletins expire no additional storm damage reports

Rainfall Reports: Amount / Location / Source / Notes
2.20” / Bunnell / Flagler EOC /
1.60” / NW Palm Coast / Skywarn
1.66” / East Palm Coast / Skywarn
1.67” / Flagler Beach / Skywarn
1.00” / West Palm Coast / Skywarn
2.00” / SE Palm Coast / Skywarn

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2 Responses for “Palm Coast Mayor Declares State of Local Emergency as Tornado Details Emerge”

  1. Genie says:

    Very thorough article. Look for our insurance to go up.

  2. Geezer says:

    “Palm Coast Mayor Declares State of Local Emergency as Tornado Details Emerge”

    Well then – he’s done, back to bed for him.

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