IONA, Fla. A waterspout that turned into an EF-0 tornado touched down in Lee County Thursday morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
The tornado made landfall at the southern part of Pine Island at 10:19 a.m. and made its way to Lakes Regional Park by 10:40 a.m., said Dan Noah, a warning coordination meteorologist with NOAA. EF-0 tornadoes have winds between 65 and 85 mph, WINK meteorologist Matt Devitt said.
The storm destroyed a mobile home at Thornton Road and Palm Drive and damaged a number of trees and car ports. It also lifted a metal dock out of the water at Lakes Park, Noah said.
Two men had only a few moments to exit the home before severe winds caused the roof to collapse on top of one of them.
“It was a little breezy at first but then all of a sudden palm fronds started flying and I hollered at Eddie to get out of here,” Charlie Morrissey said. “As soon as I got to the door I heard a crash and a big loud noise and I turned around and the whole roof fell down.”
A fence was also wrapped around the home and the men’s truck was crushed. The men were not injured.
“I’m pretty distraught about it. You always see it happen to somebody else, never think it’s going to happen to you,” Morrissey said.
Residents spotted the tornado near Gladiolus Drive and U.S. 41 as late-morning storms pushed through the area, WINK meteorologist Zach Maloch said.
“The radar shows decent rear-inflow notch that may have allowed it to form,” Maloch said.
The cloud formation is shown in a video from a WINK News viewer:
Power was knocked out for a few dozen customers, according to Florida Power & Light. Service is expected to be restored Thursday afternoon.
No additional storms were expected Thursday in the wake of a cold front that swept them east and out of the area.
WINK News reporter Kristin Sanchez went live via Facebook from Thornton Road: