Update: The National Weather Service confirmed to WRUF Weather that the damage from Sunday’s storms was a result of downburst winds and not a tornado. Dr. David Prevatt, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering for the University of Florida, has done extensive research on the mitigation of wind damage to low rise buildings. He conducted a survey of the damage earlier today and shared his findings.
“Suffice to say, we examined damage in two areas – Newberry gas station and the Kanapaha apartment building – and we find no evidence of a tornado-type damage to the structures or to the trees,” Prevatt said in an email to WRUF Weather.
It’s important to remember that thunderstorms of all sizes and strength, even those that aren’t warned as being “severe”, can produce strong wind gusts with little warning. This is especially true in Florida where they develop quickly during the heating of the afternoon and along fast-moving sea breeze fronts.
Original story posted Sunday night…
Many residents of North-Central Florida will be spending their Monday cleaning up from Sunday’s thunderstorms that produced significant tree and structural damage to some neighborhoods. One person was injured in Alachua County near the town of Newberry from what was reported as a possible tornado. This report, along with many others, were still coming in from the Alachua County Emergency Management as of 10 pm Sunday. The list includes several trees that fell onto vehicles, homes and apartments, displacing some residents in an apartment complex near the town of Archer. The National Weather Service could not verify Sunday evening if there was indeed a tornado that hit the town of Newberry, but radar data suggested the damage might have been caused by powerful straight-line winds estimated to be between 50 and 60 mph.
Reports as of 10pm Sunday
- 8:17 pm – Alachua County emergency manager reporting there was a lightning strike survivor at 2706 NW 245th DR in Newberry
- 8:15 pm – one person injured at an apartment complex in Newberry where trees and power lines were reportedly downed by a possible tornado
- 8:15 pm – multiple reports from emergency management of structural damage at 10 NW 25th street in the town of Newberry (Alachua County) where a building suffered moderate damage and a gas station canopy toppled over
- 6:15 pm – public report of a tree falling into a house near I-75 at the Archer Road exit with trees down in the area
- 6:15 pm – strong winds near Gainesville caused downed power lines
- 6:05 pm – trees downed near Miconopy from strong wind gusts along US 441 near Paynes Prairie
- 6:00 pm – minor flooding along northwest 10th avenue in Gainesville.
- 5:55 pm – WRUF Weather reported pea sized hail near UF campus in Gainesville
- 5:10 pm – trees were downed on a campground in Juniper Springs in Marion County
- 4:20 pm – numerous trees and power powerlines fell along State Road 19 near Silver Lake Dr. in Putnam County
- 4:15 pm – downed trees and power lines were reported near Satsuma in Putnam County
- 4:15 pm - trees fell on power lines and a car near Theressa. a outdoor shed also blown over
- 2:30 pm – dime to Nickel-sized hail was reported near Middleburg in Clay County
Damage to a gas station in Newberry from Sunday’s storms. Photo credit: Lindsay Rodriguez
The combination of heat, humidity, and a well-defined Atlantic coast sea breeze triggered the first round of severe weather on Sunday in North Florida. A complex of strong storms developed along a line from Lake City to Crescent City by mid-afternoon. This complex drifted south and produced wind gusts close to 60 MPH, confirmed reports of penny to nickel sized hail, and numerous cloud to ground lightning strikes through Clay, Putnam, Bradford and eastern Marion counties. Closer to sunset, another disturbance moved out of the panhandle and interacted with rain-cooled boundaries from the earlier storms to ignite new severe thunderstorms along and just west of the I-75 corridor. These storms produced intense cloud-to-ground lightning, very heavy rain, pea to marble size hail, and the winds estimated at close to 60 mph that caused considerable damage.
We covered the severe weather event live on WRUF-TV and tracked the storms in real-time on WRUFWeather.com. We encourage everybody to seek shelter indoors and away from windows during a thunderstorm. And we always appreciate you safely sending in your reports or photos of any damage. The easiest way for us to pass those along is through Twitter. Use #WeatherTogether and send them to @WRUFWeather. You can also contact us via email, Facebook,