Confirmed: Tornado touched down in Marion County, National Weather Service says

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down in Marion County on Sunday afternoon.

Scott Cordero, meteorologist in charge, at the NWS office in Jacksonville said the tornado touched down west of Ocala and had winds of 90-105 miles per hour (mph). He said it was about a mile long and its widest part was almost as long as a football field.

“The tornado that happened here in Marion County was probably just a real quick blast of 1-2 minutes as it did its damage,” Cordero said. Cordero said three to four homes received minor structural damage from trees falling on them.

Dozens of trees snapped in half and many of them were still lying on the ground Monday morning waiting to be cleaned up. “It’s really bad. It actually looks worse than it did with Hurricane Irma,” said one homeowner.

John Zylo owns a horse farm and said he was outside cleaning the yard when he heard the thunder and rushed inside the house. “You couldn’t see. There was a big white cloud down on the ground and it was white and black.” Zylo said the tornado carried his new, $7,000 trailer 30 yards across his yard, blew shingles off his roof and snapped dozens of huge trees in half like twigs.

Zylo said the tornado caused his elderly mom to have a heart attack. He rushed to call 911 to get her to the hospital but the ambulance couldn’t make it down the street because of downed trees. “They had to walk from the road down here with a gurney to get her.” Zylo said his mom is recovering in the hospital.

The last time a confirmed tornado touched down in Marion County was April 20, 2015.

The rest of the week in Orange County looks to have much less rain with warm temperatures sticking around. Download the Fox 35 Weather App to stay up to date on the latest weather in Central Florida