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Tropical Storm Elsa Spawns Local Tornadoes; Leaves 1 Dead, More Injured

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Adam Pratt
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Tropical Storm Elsa leaves behind one death and damage to homes and businesses in Jacksonville after passing through Northeast Florida Wednesday. The storm also spawned confirmed and suspected tornadoes. Adam Pratt of Pratt Guys contractors captured video of a confirmed tornado at Phillip’s Highway near University Boulevard on the Southside. 

In the video, shared by WJCT News Partner News 4 Jax, Pratt can be heard exclaiming his surprise at seeing the twister, then noting burst transformers and flying debris. 

“I saw two transformers blow, you could see the sparks in the air as that happened,” Pratt said. “And then just seeing the debris, it reminded me of the movie, almost like Twister.” 

Eric Prosswimmer, a spokesman for Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, said rescuers have finished conducting “window assessments” in Elsa’s aftermath, crisscrossing the city in rescue vehicles to make sure they haven’t missed any injured people or damaged property. 

“The damage they found was certainly not catastrophic,” Prosswimmer said of the Southside twister. “There were some areas that were hit with substantial damage, but no injuries and no loss of life.” 

A separate tornado injured 10 at an RV park on Kings Bay Naval Base across the state line in  Georgia. WJCT News partner News4Jax reported another suspected tornado caused a tree to crush a house near Lake City Wednesday morning, although that twister has not been confirmed.

Besides tornadic activity, Tropical Storm Elsa’s brought heavy rain and high winds. “It really wasn't anything of a crazy storm for us,” Prosswimmer said. He said one woman was rescued from a flooded car, and a man died after a tree fell on two cars. 

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.