Gusts take down trees, leave thousands in dark

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WJXT 2020

In Orange Park, this tree nearly crushed a an SUV parked in a driveway

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Wind gusts of 50, 60 to over 70 mph across our viewing area Thursday night took down a few trees, dozens of power lines and littered yards with limbs and other debris. Hail pelted home and vehicles in some parts of town and heavy rain briefly dropped visibility to near zero as the strong cold front moved through.

The highest gust measured in greater Jacksonville was 76 mph at NAS Jacksonville, although a wind meter at Huguenot Park reported 60 mph and the National Weather Service office at Jacksonville International Airport measured 58 mph.

Trees were blown down on a mobile home and a kindergarten in Orange Park. Several more trees and power lines in were down in Clay and Bradford counties. A downed power line in Baldwin sparked a small fire. The FHP said a strong wind gust flipped a tractor-trailer on its side on Dames Point Bridge about 11 p.m.

At its peak, nearly 20,000 homes and businesses in Northeast Florida were without power -- the highest number customers of Clay Electric. Most have been restored.

No school districts reported closures on Friday, although in some cases they are working around strom-related issues. A tree was down in the bus loading area at Oakleaf Junior High and three Alachua County schools opened while waiting for their power to be restored.

The News4Jax newsroom was flooded with pictures and reports of storm damage throughout the night into Friday morning. We’ve collected some of the damage photos in a gallery at the top of this story. You can help document the damage by sending photos, video to StormPins, either on the Weather Authority App or here on