EF-2 tornado damages parts of Jacksonville
Updated On: Aug 01 2013 11:20:46 PM EDT
A line of thunderstorms moving east of downtown produced damaging winds that took down trees and fences in Arlington and flooded streets east of the St. Johns River -- including the Arlington Expressway -- on Thursday afternoon.
There was a report that a tornado may have briefly touched down near the intersection of Monument Road near McCormick about 4:15 p.m.
The National Weather Service said the tornado was an EF-2 with wind speeds of 125 mph. NWS said it is still determining how long the tornado touched the ground and how wide it was.
Viewer Erin Fischer snapped a photo of a funnel cloud while driving on McCormick Road.
At 4:25 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for eastern Duval County after tracking a storm it says was capable of producing 60 mph winds. The storm was moving east toward the beaches and the warning was allowed to expire at 5:15 p.m., but an urban flood warning for eastern Duval and Nassau counties was in effect until 6 p.m.
Channel 4 viewers called in reports and sent photos of trees down along Monument Road and in nearby neighborhoods. There were also fences and sheds damaged in the area.
The Mathews Bridge eastbound was closed during the afternoon rush hour due to standing water on the Arlington Expressway. The westbound lanes were allowed to reopen at 5:40 p.m.
Meteorologist John Gaughan said the storm dropped 3 to 4 inches of rain in about 30 minutes. Street flooding was reported in several areas of Arlington.
"It was so dark outside, I thought it was midnight," emailed Channel 4 viewer Jane Brown. "The lightning was cracking all around and over us, too. I think we were having like 15 strikes per 10 minutes at one point."
The Red Cross said volunteers worked with a number of families following Thursday's severe weather in the Ft. Caroline area. Volunteers provided three families with lodging and food.
A response vehicle was also deployed to the affected neighborhood, according to the Red Cross, to distribute comfort kits.
Residents who are still in need are being asked to call the Red Cross offices at 904-358-8091.
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