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In 2004, Tropical Storm Bonnie spawned a massive, destructive Jacksonville tornado

Tropical Storm Bonnie spawned a destructive F-2 tornado that touched down in a Northwest Jacksonville neighborhood.
Tropical Storm Bonnie spawned a destructive F-2 tornado that touched down in a Northwest Jacksonville neighborhood. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Tropical Storm Elsa swept through Columbia County, National Weather Service said an EF-0 tornado 100-yards wide with winds of 75 mph sprung up and caused damage to at least one home.

The tropical storm tornado Wednesday evoked memories of another tornado nearly 17 years before, through that storm was much more destructive.

In 2004, Tropical Storm Bonnie made landfall in Apalachicola Bay on Aug. 12 and quickly lost strength.

But as the last band of rain made its way through Jacksonville during the late afternoon that day, the energy produced an F-2 tornado that destroyed six homes and injured four people.

News4Jax reporter Victoria Warren said during her report that she and photographer Randy Sell were driving south through a Northwest Jacksonville neighborhood when they looked up in the sky and saw the tornado.

“We got out to take some video but then immediately decided to get right back into the car and get ourselves to safety because that is just something that we just did not want to mess with,” Warren said.

(Watch her full report in the video below)

In 2004, Tropical Storm Bonnie spawned a massive F-2 tornado that destroyed homes in Northwest Jacksonville.
In 2004, Tropical Storm Bonnie spawned a massive F-2 tornado that destroyed homes in Northwest Jacksonville.

Video the massive twister sending debris into the air as it touched down in a Northwest Jacksonville neighborhood with estimated speeds between 113-157 mph.

According to the National Weather Service, the tornado first touched down in the train yard west of New Kings Road. It was on the ground for about a mile as it plowed through the Edgewood area neighborhoods.

The Red Cross documented 46 homes with major damage and 65 with minor damage.

That tornado was a harbinger of what was to be a historic stretch of hurricane activity in Florida.

Hurricanes Charley (Aug. 13), Frances (Sept. 4), Ivan (Sept. 16) and Jeanne (Sept. 26) pummeled Florida over a six-week period. The remnants of Jeanne came through the Jacksonville area, causing more than 200,000 power outages.

It was the first time since Texas in 1886 that a state was hit by four hurricanes in the same year.


About the Authors:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.