Destructive Jacksonville tornado was 115 yards wide, had wind speeds of 100+ mph

One business is thankful they were spared from the E-F one tornado which spawned from Elsa.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, just north of Goodbys Creek in Jacksonville’s Brierwood neighborhood, an EF-1 tornado touched down.

Over the next six minutes, the storm produced wind speeds of up to 110 mph as it moved north nearly 4 miles through San Jose, across Interstate 95 and into Arlington, according to a report released Thursday afternoon by the National Weather Service.

Along the way, the 150-yard-wide twister snapped trees, flung fences and caused damage to homes along Old Kings Road South, Powers Avenue and beyond.

INTERACTIVE TIMELINE | Videos, photos show the path of a destructive Jacksonville tornado

The tornado, a result of passing Tropical Storm Elsa, reached peak intensity and width as it crossed Philips Highway and moved along Bowdendale Avenue. Significant damage was reported to several industrial buildings in that area, NWS said.

Cannons on Richard Street, a family business near Philips and I-95, had its aluminum roof ripped off and left in a twisted heap.

The tornado then crossed Interstate 95 near the Bowden Road interchange, with large tree branches snapped and more roof damage noted along Spring Park Road, according to NWS.

The tornado weakened as it hit University Christian School and then just northeast of Englewood High School, where tree branches were snapped along Daryl Road.

The destructive storm finally dissipated in Arlington at 4:51 p.m.

RELATED | Neighborhoods begin recovery from Elsa tornado damage in Jacksonville

Video of the tornado was shared with News4Jax by the Pratt Guys, which is a contracting business.

Adam Pratt took the video just outside the business on Philips Highway.

“We kept on getting all of the tornado warning alerts on the phone,” he said. “I just pointed In the sky, very exaggerated, that there’s a tornado, and really I was joking and I probably shouldn’t have been joking about that.”

But in fact there was a tornado -- not far away.

“Seeing all the debris in the air, you know, it reminded me of the movie Twister,” Pratt said.

He posted the video on Facebook, and he said it’s gone viral -- shared internationally on television networks in Australia and the UK.

People living in the area impacted were left to pick up the pieces on Thursday.

Pratt said he’s grateful his store was spared, but is sympathetic for those whose businesses weren’t.

“I hope they have a quick recovery and turnaround so they can be back in business,” he said.

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.

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.