Cleanup underway after EF-1 tornado rips 20-mile path through Flagler County

Efforts expected to wrap up by Friday, officials say

KORONA, Fla. – Cleanup efforts are underway after an EF-1 tornado ripped through Flagler County over the weekend.

Flagler County’s Public Works Department said crews will begin picking up debris that could impact roadways Monday and should finish their cleanup efforts by Friday.

“This is a public safety issue along our roadways,” county engineer Faith Alkhatib said. “We have estimated there is 10,000 cubic yards of debris, mostly downed trees, that need to be removed from the county right of ways.”

[RELATED: PHOTOS, VIDEOS: EF-1 tornado rips through Flagler County | Nearly 20-mile path of EF-1 tornado in Flagler wasn’t longest track Central Florida has seen]

Officials said the work will begin in Korona before moving east toward John Anderson Highway.

The rotating system had winds of up to 110 mph and was on the ground for nearly 20 miles Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

NWS officials said the tornado became an EF-1 as it crossed U.S. 1 just north of Old Dixie Highway around 5:30 a.m. The tornado remained an EF-1 as it continued east northeast over John Anderson Highway, but weakened to an EF-0, with 65 to 85 mph winds, as it crossed the Intracoastal Waterway.

The tornado downed power lines and hundreds of trees in its path, according to Flagler County officials. Several homes were also damaged, with one destroyed.

Dan Gallagher said the tornado caused about $100,000 in damages to his home.

“Matthew hit us right after we bought the house, basically. We went through Irma, we had damage. No home damage but a lot of trees and branches. This was by far worse than both of them combined. It’s devastating,” Gallagher said.

He said given the repair costs, it’ll be difficult to buy Christmas gifts for his four children.

“We’re all safe, that’s the most important. This stuff can get fixed. I can’t replace my family,” he said.

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