Arlington residents begin tornado recovery

Weather Service confirms EF-2 tornado touched down in Jacksonville Thursday

(Photo by Joanne Birdwell)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After Thursday's afternoon's storm ravaged parts of Jacksonville and dropped flooding rain across the city, the Red Cross is giving shelter and other assistance to families whose homes were damaged.

Authorities say a severe storm ripped through Jacksonville between 4 and 5 p.m., damaging 15 to 20 homes and numerous cars, but there was only one minor injury.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-2 tornado with wind speeds reaching 125 mph  touched down Thursday afternoon in the area of Monument and McCormick roads.

"I was on phone with husband and I told him looked like a tornado," Angela Red said. "(I) put car in park and I got down on floor board of car and just looking out and saw pieces of houses and fencing flying over top of my car."

Erin Fischer was driving on McCormick Road when he captured this image of what appears to be a tornado.
Erin Fischer was driving on McCormick Road when he captured this image of what appears to be a tornado.

Witnesses said the twister was only on the ground for about a minute.

"I saw the spinning and I could hardly get in (the) door," said Pam Karnbach. "I watched tree in front yard go sideways. Flag pole in my driveway was across the street."

Trees were down on cars, homes and blocked streets and driveways.

"I'm just happy to be alive. All this can be replaced," said Amanda Harris. "I got my babies and stayed safe we were in that bathroom for like an hour. Quite scary."


The weather service reported the storm also dumped between two and four inches of rain on many areas of eastern Duval and Nassau counties, flooding streets and parking lots.  Standing water on the Arlington Expressway forced the Mathews Bridge closed during the afternoon rush hour.

Fire officials say lightning may have sparked two house fires. Both were quick extinguished.


The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says only one person was treated for injuries sustained during the storm.

The storm knocked out electricity to thousands of residents, but the JEA reported the number of outages was less than a hundred by Friday morning.

Residents who are still in need of assistance are being asked to call the Red Cross offices at 904-358-8091.