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Tornado touches down in Palm Coast

4:55 PM, Dec 15, 2013   |    comments
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PALM COAST, Fla. -- UPDATE, 2 p.m. Sunday: The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado did touch down in Palm Coast Saturday, this city's first recorded EF1. 

The tornado that hit the Indian Trails neighborhood was given a preliminary rating of a strong EF1 with evidence of winds as high as 110 mph, according to NWS. The tornado was 25-75 yards wide; length has yet to be determined, according to NWS.

City damage assessment teams have completed their assessments. In all, 171 houses were affected:
7 houses destroyed
22 houses with moderate damage
142 houses partially damaged

The value of the damage is estimated at around $5 million. 

The heaviest damage is to houses and property in the B Section in the Indian Trails neighborhood, but damage also occurred in the C Section and F Section.

Roads have been reopened.

Cleanup efforts are underway in Palm Coast after a reported tornado barreled through the area Saturday night, authorities said.

It was the first tornado to hit the city since 2004, an EF0. 

City officials told First Coast News a possible tornado touched down about 7 p.m. Saturday, knocking down power lines, ripping roofs from houses and littering roads with debris.

There were no injuries reported, but the storm left more than 2,000 residents without power, city spokesperson Cindi Lane said. No injuries were reported.

Lane said the storm hit three parts of town, but the hardest hit area was section B, where residents reported damage from the Indian Trails section into the Palm Harbor section.

On Sunday morning city officials briefed the media on the latest developments. 

City of Palm Coast Fire Chief Mike Beadle said around 70 homes sustained damage. 

Three to five of the homes sustained extensive damage and were un-fit for living, according to Beadle. Another 15 homes sustained "moderate damage" and another 40-50 homes had "light damage".

The number of residents without power shrank dramatically overnight. 

Once listed as over 2,000, as of 9 a.m. the number of residents without power was down to 51, according to Beadle. The city has not faced any utility, water or sewer issues due to the storm, according to Beadle. 

Clean-up crews were taken off the streets early Sunday morning due to another tornado warning around 2:30 a.m. 

Personnel from the National Weather Service were brought in to determine if the damage was caused by a tornado or straight line winds. As of 9 a.m., no determination had been made. 

Beadle advised any residents with damage to contact insurance agents immediately and to take pictures.

Sheriff Jim Manfre said around 30 officers responded after the storm struck Saturday night and officers would continue to patrol heavily throughout Sunday. He asked that people stay clear of the affected areas.

Mayor Netts encouraged residents with damage to hire contractors licensed and insured to work in Palm Coast. 

"Clean-up will take weeks. We will bounce back," Netts said. "The residents of the city will help each other."

Saturday's storm was the strongest to hit the city in its history. 

Anyone who needs assistance or has questions concerning storm damage can call the City at 386-986-3700.