ORLANDO, Fla. – National Weather Service survey teams have confirmed the damage in DeLand Tuesday was that of an EF-2 tornado.
Winds were estimated to be 105-115 mph and the 550-yard-wide twister caused damages along a 4.6 mile path of DeLand.
NWS teams said the tornado moved northeast along a 4.6-mile path beginning at West Minnesota Avenue and North Ridgewood Avenue and lifted east of the Lake Lindley subdivision.
Damages from the twister was most significant along East Washington Avenue between Alabama Avenue and North Amelia Avenue, according to the NWS report.
Destruction from the EF-2 tornado included homes with roofs fully or partially ripped off and a tree snapped and twisted from its roots.
Meteorologists confirm an EF-0 tornado also touched down in the Sunset Hills Subdivision. The tornado tracked along a .1 mile-long path with maximum sustained winds of 65-75 mph.
A mobile home was destroyed at the intersection of Sunnysive Avenue and County Road 4101.
The National Weather Service in Melbourne issued a tornado warning for central Volusia County at 3:52 p.m. Tuesday.
Strong couplet (red close to green) where more significant damage is being reported on Plymouth Ave. and Woodland Blvd. Green is wind going toward the radar...red is away indicating rotation. Hope everyone is ok. pic.twitter.com/dsKzFOqEhb— Jonathan Kegges (@JonathanKegges) August 18, 2020
The National Weather Service is completing their damage assessment and will release all of the details of Tuesday’s tornado when complete.
Wednesday afternoon, city officials in DeLand gave an update about the storm damage and their response.
As of about 2 p.m., all but about 1,000 of the 11,000 homes that lost power have had services restored.
The Red Cross and United Way are assisting the dozens of families who were impacted by the storm.
Volusia County Emergency Management director Jim Judge said there were no deaths associated with the tornado and only one person suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Officials said 28 structures were affecting, meaning some sort of mostly minor cosmetic damage, while 15 single family homes received minor damage, 14 single family homes suffered major damage and one home was destroyed in DeLand alone.
Also in DeLand, one multi-family home received major damage, nine businesses sustained minor damage and five businesses suffered major damage.
The county property appraiser will determine the monetary cost of the damage.
Ben Bartlett, the director of the county’s road and bridge division, said crews responded minutes after the tornado lifted off to begin clearing roadways so that linemen and first responders could access the area.
“Our road bridge crews as well as city crews worked to about midnight last night clearing roads, making them passable, and we’ve been back at it today addressing dangerous hangers and leaners, limbs, and anything that might present a hazard to anybody on the roadways,” Bartlett said.
He called the coordinated response an “efficient exercise,” especially considering there was only a few minutes between when the warning was received and when the tornado struck.
“Obviously, you know, the past few years we’ve been through a lot of hurricane events so in some ways this is similar, we just didn’t have 48 hours to prepare, we had four minutes to prepare. But we worked well with our counterparts in the city of DeLand,” Barlett said.
DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar said though the damage was devastating for many, he’s glad to see residents stepping up to help their neighbors.
He said officials are trying to restore normalcy as soon as possible.
“Starting last night and today I’m seeing constant offers of help: ‘What can I do to help my fellow man? What can I do to help the citizens of our community,’ and that’s really what DeLand is all about. It’s about helping others and being a very caring community. So to all of those people that have been out helping their friends and neighbors: Thank you for being willing to step forward and help those in need,” Apgar said.