Overnight storm trashes Westside ranch
System has potential for more severe weather Friday afternoon
A weather front moving through late Thursday night destroyed five barns at a Westside farm and left a trail of debris on Otis Road, just north of I-10.
Wayne Scarborough Jr., who owns and lives on the 600-acre farm, said he was still up when his wife told him the storm was coming.
"She said, 'Let's just hope it's not too bad," and within seconds, it got unbelievably bad," Scarborough said. "Like nothing I've ever experienced in my life."
No one and none of the animals were injured, which they consider a miracle.
"So the wind was coming straight through the house and I really said, 'Are we going to die?'" Lisa Scarborough said. "I was really, really afraid we might die."
The roof above where their 15-year-old son was sleeping was torn off.
"I didn't believe my eyes," Jakob Scarborough, said. "I've seen stuff on the news and stuff like this on the news but I never thought it would happen to us."
The family didn't really know how bad their property was damaged until morning.
"You really couldn't tell until the sun come up this morning," Wayne Scarborough said. "Not a good night last night."
The National Weather Service tracked a thunderstorm system that moved through northeast Florida. NWS meteorologist Ben Nelson said this was the only damage report received from Duval County overnight and rendered an opinion based on News4Jax photos from the scene.
"Based on the fact that the tractors were not moved, surrounding trees were not damaged and the nearby fence is still standing, we are fairly confident that this is an isolated downburst containing about 60 mph winds that occurred as the line of thunderstorms was moving through western Duval County," Nelson wrote in an email. "We did have some interesting small-scale downburst features on radar in that area last night, but we had nothing as far as debris signatures that would suggest a tornado."
Scarborough said the severe weather was over in 10 seconds, but left his farm devastated. Family and friends were busy trying to clean up and make temporary repairs since more rain and possible storms were approaching.
"Biggest thing is that my family's safe," Wayne Scarborough said. "We can rebuild this, It's going to be tough, but tough times don't last; tough people do."
Another area of thunderstorms that developed across the northeastern Gulf and Florida's Panhandle early Friday was moving toward southeast Georgia.
News4Jax meteorologist Richard Nunn said the forecast for northeast Florida remains tricky. There's a 60 percent chance of showers and storms developing between 2 and 7 p.m. Friday, mostly south of I-10.
There is a potential of strong storms, but its severity will likely be determined by afternoon warming. If cloud cover remains all day, rainfall may be limited to a few showers.
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