JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The National Weather Service is investigating reports of damage, debris and trees down after a tornadic cell passed over Jacksonville on Wednesday evening.
A security camera from someone’s home caught the tornado as it rushed by.
Video was also taken along Philips Highway and posted on the Pratt Guys Facebook page:
“There is a tornado right there! That is a big tornado!” a man can be heard exclaiming in the video.
After the storm passed through, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry held a news conference and stressed the importance of residents knowing their flood and evacuation zone.
“We’re just outside of the July 4 holiday, and we’ve had our first storm, and unfortunately, we’ve had a fatality,” Curry said.
The mayor was referring to an incident in the Ortega neighborhood, where a man was killed when a tree branch fell and hit two vehicles.
The JEA power outage map showed thousands of homes were without power in the Jacksonville area after the storm. Crews with Florida Power and Light and Clay Electric were also assessing outages.
The NWS first tweeted about the tornado at about 5:05 p.m. when the storm was moving toward Arlington. The map above shows locations where News4Jax has received photos of storm damage.
News4Jax received photos of substantial damage at the Pinebrook Apartments on Powers Avenue.
The tornado caused a tree to rip apart and collapse onto several apartments.
The American Red Cross arrived to help tenants who suffered damages.
“We’re going to bring some teams out to check in with the families and check in with the management company of the complex to make sure these families are taken care of,” said Gerald Thomas with the Red Cross.
Maria Pollard said she and her family were monitoring weather alerts when she realized a tornado had been spotted near her home along Powers.
“All of a sudden, it got really loud and the house shook pretty good,” Pollard said. “The kids were crying and then we saw the trees get ripped out.”
A tree fell onto her home, damaging the roof, and another tree fell onto her SUV.
More damage and debris was spotted along Argentine Drive. One woman told News4Jax she was on her computer working from home when the wind began to pick up.
Just down the road on Habana Avenue, one resident said he’s thankful his home is still standing.
“I heard this rumbling sound, profusely loud, sounded like a freight train. That’s inevitable. It’s got to be a tornado,” he said.
The man said he took cover in the closet as the bad weather rolled through.
“God was with everybody on this block,” he said.