ORLANDO, Fla. — The cleanup continues for parts of Orange and Lake counties after two separate tornadoes touched down over the weekend, causing damage to homes. 

What You Need To Know

  • Tornado touched down Saturday night in Fern Creek area

  • No injuries, tree limbs down, homes sustained damage

  • Tornado reported in Lake County on Sunday

Saturday nights’s severe weather took a nasty turn when a tornado touched down in Orlando, damaging homes and downing tree limbs and power lines. 

According to the National Weather Service, the Orlando tornado initiated at 7:20 pm as a waterspout over Lake Conway.

The waterspout continued northward, crossing little Lake Conway and Hoffner Avenue Then it continued northward as a tornado while generally paralleling Ferncreek Avenue, and lifting just north of Lake Lawsona in Thornton Park at approximately 7:32 pm.

The majority of damage was determined to be in the form of uprooted trees and large limbs, causing roof damage to homes and structures.

A wind speed of 65 to 85 mph was determined.

It was found that more substantial damage occurred in the vicinity of Lake Margaret Drive and Ferncreek Ave where significant roof damage was observed to several structures consistent with EF-1 intensity (100-105 mph).

The tornado path width varied from approximately 350 to 500 yards, with a length of 5.3 miles.

Jose Pico was inside his home when the tornado hit Saturday. He says he thought he was going to die.

“It’s hard, I mean, I lost everything. I don’t have anything. All my belongings are gone, I don’t have anything. Thank God my wife and my God, they’re alive. They’re alive,” he described. 

Tornado left damage across Orlando neighborhood

There were several tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings issued across the region Saturday afternoon and evening.

A number of homes sustained damage near Lake Margaret Drive and Fern Creek Avenue. About 30 to 50 families were displaced by the storms.

Some roofs appear to be blown off entirely in some spots, destroyed and wiped out in others. Tree limbs still litter yards, roadways and sidewalks here in the area. 

It was a scary situation for many on Saturday night who said the storm came in so quickly. Some homes remained without power Sunday morning. 

Alex Garcia and his family said they huddled in the bathroom for safety when the storm hit and it struck fast. 

“It was just horrible, it was a horrible experience," Garcia said. "I don’t wish that on nobody. But luckily, it’s all material stuff. My family is fine, I’m fine and that’s all that matters right now, it’s all that matters."

Garcia said the inside of his home is filled with glass but other than that, not too much else was damaged.

Meanwhile, Kim Dill and her family thought they were in the clear Saturday afternoon, saying the tornado warnings had expired a few minutes earlier and were waiting for the storms to pass so their daughter and her friends could go swimming outside. 

“And we were in the family room, I had the three girls and we were talking about outside and what was going on and she noticed the winds and she pointed to me and said ‘mom’, " Dill said. "And I looked out and I thought, 'that is not right.' I’ve never seen winds like that, I knew it wasn’t even hurricane winds. 

"And then, I immediately heard the train sound and I started yelling at all of them to get them in the closet, grabbed the dogs threw them in the closet. And I thought, this is actually the real deal."

The Dills said they have got windows blown out, but they have been boarded up and the exterior of their house was damaged from the tornado. 

But they said their neighbors were hit worse and they will get to work cleaning up there home and help their neighbors.

A lot of people are just grateful they’re OK and were able to wait out the worst of the storms from a safe spot. 

Neighborly Support

After a storm, sometimes it’s not as much about the cleanup, but the way the people around you pick up your spirits.

It didn’t take long before people were storming into their neighbors’ yards, tools in hand, ready to get to work and show some neighborly love.

Doug and Yolonda Huhn have weathered plenty of storms together in this house, including the back-to-back hurricanes of 2004. But they say this was the worst.

“It was extensive with the roof and also the windows shattering, and all the glass was dispersed throughout the entire house,” Yolonda described.

Right after the tornado passed, they got flooded with support from neighbors. Now their windows are boarded, big debris is out of the way, and Doug even got some help up top to hammer away at some roof damage.

For the tough-to-reach tasks, Bobby Weddle and his crew with Tri Country Tree and Bobcat Services, offered a lift.

“They’re relieved because a lot of people don’t have what it takes to get large trees in some difficult spots off as efficiently and safe,” said Weddle.

He believes this should be expected, not expensive.

Even though Yolanda and Doug never expected to be picking up after a tornado, they could never ask for more compassion.

“It’s a good neighborhood,” they said. “(We’re) very honored to live here.”

The Orange County Property Appraisers came out to this area and estimated about $870,000 worth of damage. No homes were deemed a total loss.

Brief Tornado Touches Down in Lake County

While it was first reported that the National Weather Service would go out to Lake County to inspect possible damage, the agency decided on Monday morning that it would not go to investigate.

It also stated that the tornado that touched down in Lake County was no greater than an EF-0.