National Weather Service confirms EF-1 tornado hit Ocala

People in Ocala are cleaning up after storms ripped through the area Saturday morning. Witnesses say a funnel cloud appeared to cut right across I-75.

Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service's storm survey show evidence for a 65-yard wide EF-1 tornado with max winds of 110 mph. 

One witness, Hector Dirato, said, "I thought for sure I was a dead man. For sure I thought I was gonna die today."

Hector was inside his car at a nearby Circle K when he says he felt his car get picked up.  

Debris and trees were knocked down in the same area after heavy rain and strong winds moved quickly through the area. 

The fierce storm left behind a trail of destruction along State Road 200. The roof of an animal clinic was ripped off, cars were damaged, trees snapped in half and several pieces of Styrofoam were strewn across 43rd Street. 

Ocala Police say it was a possible tornado that damaged multiple buildings and vehicles near the 3900 block of State Road 200. 

"The National Weather Service has not classified the activity in the area as a tornado, nor have any tornado warnings been issued in that area," says FOX 35 Chief Meteorologist Jayme King. 

The Ocala Fire Department and emergency services were bombarded with calls. They responded to the Saddleworth Green Apartments where they say multiple families were displaced because of storm damage. 

"There is quite a bit of destruction," said Ashley Lopez with Ocala Fire Rescue. "There was some very large trees that fell on top of homes. There's a lot of people that will be needing assistance."

FOX 35 will continue to update this story as new information becomes available.