Storm takes down trees in Southside neighborhood

Neighbors spend hours helping each other clean up after storm

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Severe weather knocked down more than a dozen trees in the Southside area on Monday.

It happened shortly before 5 p.m. in the Danforth subdivision off Hodges Boulevard.

Several neighbors spent the early evening helping each other out and cleaning up.

The National Weather Service told News4Jax that straight-line winds that reached as high as 53 mph tore through the neighborhood. The winds knocked down as many as 20 trees.

VIEWER PHOTOS: Storm rolls through

It took several hours to clean up all the branches up and down the street. Neighbors used clippers and chainsaws to get the job done.

"I heard some thumps on the roof," said homeowner Clara Haak. "And I was looking out the front, (and) I realized my tree was gone."

To make matters worse, Haak said her home was struck by lightning just two days ago. She's waiting on an estimate from her insurance company on the damages.

"But I thank God that nobody was hurt, and that I still have a home," Haak said.

Several neighbors described what it looked and sounded like during the storm.

"We looked out the window, and I saw hurls of rain that looked like smoke clouds," said Doris Jones. "I'd never ever experienced that in my life. I never want to experience it again."

Jones said at one point, she and her family took shelter in a room with no windows.

Officials with the National Weather Service said that's exactly what she should have done, and they assert that it's important to head inside when there's lightning in the area.

"Thunderstorms produce strong winds, causing things to blow around outside," said Andrew Shashy, a meteorologist with the NWS. "But if any projectiles are in the air, and they hit windows, they can break those windows and can cause injury to someone. In addition to that, these storms can produce a lot of lightning."

The NWS said no injuries have been reported.

For the Danforth neighbors, it meant a lot just knowing they can depend on one another.

"From the neighborhood that we're in, in Danforth, I expect nothing less. That's how we are and what we are. We help each other."

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