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St. Johns County business picks up pieces after severe storm

Doors blown off granite supply business, other damage reported

ELKTON, Fla. – A powerful storm that swept through Northeast Florida before dawn Saturday left residents and business owners to spend the weekend cleaning up.

The National Weather Service said an EF-1 tornado ripped through Flagler County for nearly 20 miles, and parts of Putnam and St. Johns counties were affected by the severe storm.

The storm left a wake of damage in Elkton just after 5 a.m. along County Road 305 off State Road 207 near FL Custom Kitchen and Bath. The business took a direct hit. Slabs of concrete were cracked, the metal roof was torn off and debris covered the floors.

Laura Orlowski, who owns the business, said there used to be two massive metal doors that would slide together in the front of the building, but after the storm ripped through, the doors blew off. She’s now worried that if any rain comes through it will cause even more damage.

“We’re trying to secure whatever we can so things don’t get wet and ruined,” Orlowski, said.

She said the call came in just before 6 a.m. from the Sheriff’s Office after deputies jumped over the wall and came inside the building to make sure no employees were inside.

No one was injured, but their cat, named “Shop Cat,” hasn’t been seen since.

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Orlowski estimates the damage could be up to $80,000 in just their materials but said this isn’t stopping their business in fulfilling orders before Christmas.

A woman who witnessed the storm told News4Jax that she had just picked up her husband from work with her four grandchildren in the car when they saw what looked like a tornado blowing through Elkton.

“Well we seen parts flying through the air,” Shelandoah Willis said.

One of those items included a porta-potty she saw flying through the air.

“Believe it or not, I didn’t think about my own life," Willis said. “I was thinking about my grandchildren because they were screaming.”

None of Willis’ family members were hurt.


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