Storm damages homes in Holt, Florida

HOLT – Carol Menzies said she came out of the bedroom of her home at 4123 Sundance Way on Friday, looked out a window and saw a tree “circle” and fly towards her.

She had enough time to round up her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren and pile them and as many of the seven house dogs as could fit in a master bathroom before what would have been a tornado hit. reaches their home in Holt. .

Menzies said she couldn’t be sure the storm passed close to her home or landed directly overhead.

“It was close,” she said. “I have shingles lodged in my fence.”

There’s also “lots and lots of water in the house,” she said, including in three bedrooms.

Past Tornado Coverage:Tornado touches down in DeFuniak Springs damaging homes, no injuries reported

Fight against fires :Remains of half a billion downed trees left behind by Hurricane Michael fueling the Bertha Fire

Best beaches:What are the best beaches in Florida? Here are 10 of our favorites from across the state.

The roof of the house and vehicles in the yard were also damaged by falling trees, Menzies added.

“We have damage throughout the property,” she said.

Tornado won’t be confirmed until the weekend

The Menzies’ home, which sits on the corner of Sundance Way and Log Lake Road, was one of four Okaloosa County officials said suffered damage from the storm, which is believed to have been a tornado but has not yet been officially confirmed as such. .

While a report on social media from the National Weather Service in Mobile, Alabama appeared to confirm a tornado had touched down, meteorologist Jonathan Howell said the confirmation would not be made official until an NWS crew couldn’t get to the site and assess the damage.

“Our radar indications suggest it’s entirely possible that this was a tornado,” Howell said.

The investigation was to be conducted over the weekend.

The line of thunderstorms that produced the damaging winds moved through Holt around 12:30 p.m. Friday. It knocked down many trees, some of which fell on power lines. Sundance Way was closed due to power lines and trees across the road.

Heavy rain, 2 to 4 inches, fell over the county, NWS said. However, most of the damage appears to have been isolated to northern Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties.

No injuries were reported, according to Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michele Nicholson.

Okaloosa County Public Safety Director Patrick Maddox said there was a report shortly after the storm passed of a possible fire caused by lightning, but first responders did not respond. have not located any.

“Any displacement of people is due to damage to the house,” he said during a 3:30 p.m. press briefing.

Walton County hit by another possible tornado

Walton County was also bombarded with heavy rain and turbulent weather on Friday. Late in the afternoon, an “indication of debris” was reported to the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, according to meteorologist Mark Wool.

What could be determined as a tornado touched down east of DeFuniak Springs, just south of Interstate 10 near Shady Grove Road and Hinson’s Crossroads, Wool said.

He said Walton County had been “hammered” by rain and flooding had occurred.

Maddox said Okaloosa County transitioned to a modified version of its Level 2 emergency response status on Friday. This led to the deployment of command-level field personnel and personnel stationed at the Departmental Operations Center. emergency in Niceville.

A suspected tornado damaged four homes in Holt on Friday.  '

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to check the area, and Menzies said an EMS ambulance stopped at his home to make sure everyone was okay.

Maddox said the full deployment of a team to assess the damage in Holt was delayed Friday afternoon by the storm slowing its movement through the county. He hoped that the heavy rains moving through the south and central county in the afternoon would have cleared the area before nightfall.

“We can’t have a lot of people everywhere we need to be” because of lightning in the area, he said. “We hope to get them in there today, but the storm has a mind of its own.”

Efforts to reach Florida Power and Light for a power outage estimate were unsuccessful.

Skies began to clear in Okaloosa around 4:30 p.m. Friday after a second wave of storms rolled through the Fort Walton Beach area.