Late afternoon storms surged through northeast and north-central Florida today, including Flagler County, but damage was limited to a few homes in Edgewater, in southeast Volusia County, while Flagler sustained only some strong winds for a brief period, and less than 1 inch of rain, says Troy Harper, Flagler’s emergency management director.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning from around 5:40 p.m. to 6:05 p.m. for parts of Flagler County, including Palm Coast, which means that conditions very favorable for tornadoes were in effect–or that actual tornadoes were being spotted. The National Weather Service initially reported that one such tornado had been reported in the Bunnell area and was moving northeast at 40 miles per hour.
In fact, Harper said, no tornado touch-down has been confirmed. ““We did have one unconfirmed report of a funnel cloud, just west of Bimini,” in the State Road 100 area. But Harper stressed that it was a third-party report–unconfirmed, and not seen by the county’s spotters who’d fanned out.
Television reports of the storm exaggerated its effects in Flagler County, with persistent rumors of a tornado spotted in the Belle Terre area. No such tornado was actually spotted.
Just as fortunate for Flagler: ““We have no report of damage, trees down, power outages, we fared quite well compared to our neighboring counties,” Harper said. FPL was reporting virtually no power outages in the county this evening, aside from very sporadic outages affecting one to four customers here and there, as might happen on occasion. In Volusia County, in contrast, some 1,000 customers were without power in Ormond Beach, while the News-Journal was reporting that up to 40 houses had been damaged in the Edgewater area.
“Firefighters say 40 homes are damaged and 12 are uninhabitable in the Terra Mar subdivision as survivors of the storm that hit just after 5:30 say a tornado ripped through Terra Mar Village in about 30 seconds,” the paper reported.
The weather system is the result of a normal pattern of storms at this time of year, Harper said, though the severity of the system did take authorities by surprise. The national storm prediction center in Norman, Okla., had Flagler County at “a very slight risk” in its predictions today, Harper said. The rest of the week is expected to produce some rain and foggy conditions.