Weather Service Confirms Tornado Hit San Marco Saturday

Apr 26, 2015

This photo was taken in San Marco Square around the time of the storm.
Credit Austin Luffman via News4Jax

The National Weather Service has confirmed it was an EF-1 tornado with winds of 104 mph that left a path of destruction across San Marco and the Southside over the weekend.

The tornado developed along the eastern shore of the St. Johns River and moved east-southeast for 3.45 miles, weather officials said. Numerous trees and power lines were knocked down. There was substantial roof damage to several businesses near Philips Highway.

In Englewood, where the storm hit hardest, one family is thankful. A tree crashed into their home right where a 5-year-old boy was sitting.

Tammy Holland said her nephew was sitting in a room right where the tree came crashing in.

"All we could do is cry, and thank God that they made it and that everybody's OK," Holland said.

Holland's 5-year-old nephew, and his mother and father were home at the time.

"Her husband grabbed him just in time to get him into the hallway, but they were in the room," Holland said.

Holland's family said they didn't expect to see damage like this after the storm.

"It's crazy. I would never expect it to happen to someone we're related to," said Christina Ogden.

A large tree also fell down in front of Englewood Elementary School. There are several limbs down and a tree that has been split in half.

Sunday was a busy day for people in the area as the cleanup continued. People made repairs to one home after a tree fell, and people made repairs to the roof of another home. Other homes in the area are also damaged.

In the area of Spring Park Road, many people are also dealing with damage.

Vincente Dingianni, manager of the Englewood Apartments, said more than 20 trees fell on apartments. He said the damage is so bad, he will have to move two residents into other apartments.

People who live in the apartment community are helping with the cleanup.

"The community really stepped up, and a lot of them are out here volunteering and helping us out. So we appreciate them. We appreciate what they're doing," Dingianni said.

Alquan Suidam is one of those people who helped out.

"It feels really good because I don't normally see this many people out here at all," Suidam said.

Meanwhile, across the street, Holland is just glad the storms weren't worse.

"We're very thankful that they're OK. It's a tragedy for everybody around," Holland said.

Clean up in the area will continue Monday.