Community cleanup begins after EF1 tornado touches down in Plantation

PLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) - An overnight tornado rolled through South Florida, leaving behind a path of destruction and a community picking up the pieces in its aftermath.

The National Weather Service confirmed, Tuesday morning, the overnight storm was an EF1 tornado. Plantation Fire Rescue said the storm hit between Nob Hill Road and Northwest Sixth Street, through to Cleary and Northwest 98th Street.

The rain and thunder that hit South Florida, from 12:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Tuesday, brought winds of up to 50 miles per hour in areas like Weston.

“I told my wife I heard a train,” said neighbor Darren Yassen. “Usually, when you hear a train, you think it’s a tornado, and I almost grabbed her and went to the bathroom because it was so crazy. It was like a tornado and a hurricane.”

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning around 1 a.m., Tuesday, for the cities of Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and Plantation. They said the tornado started in Davie, uprooting several trees there and then stayed on the ground for nearly five miles, leaving most of the damage in Plantation.

“We can say with fair amount of confidence that the winds were above 80 miles an hour in this area,” said Robert Garcia with the National Weather Service, “and it’s potential that we could reach about 100.”

Giant ficus trees in Plantation that have been in the area for years didn’t manage to stand up to the tornado. “When I came out, I saw my big tree uprooted like that,” said Plantation resident Sue Gendusa. “That tree’s 25 years old. It’s very scary.”

That same tree landed on the family’s car.

Rescue crews in Plantation were called to an area along Nob Hill Road where they received reports of downed trees.

Many home owners woke up to find their vehicles under trees. “There’s about six cars that seem to be pretty well destroyed,” said neighbor Brian Schedlick. “It’s these big guys, these huge trees that came down and landed right on top of them. We’ve got two here, around the other side, around building 72, you got another two buried underneath there.”

Plantation Fire Rescue began the cleanup process, Tuesday afternoon, using their own equipment to aid in the efforts. “We’re just doing a little cleanup with what the storm brought us last night,” said Plantation Fire Department Lt. Steven Wade. “Around 1:30, 2 we got a call of trees down and blocking the roadway for PD.”

The National Weather Service continues to surveying the damage left behind. “We notice shallow rooted trees, large trees, if they don’t have a good roots support system, sometimes they can topple easier,” said NWS meteorologist Robert Garcia. “That’s one of the things we’re looking at, and we take into account with the survey.”

Garcia added, “You know, tornado veers or a straight line wind, either one, when you have 80 mile per hour winds or greater, it can cause a problem, no matter if it’s a tornado spinning or if it’s straight.”

No injuries were reported.

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