OCALA, Fla. - It has been over 48 hours since an EF-1 tornado touched down in Dunnellon and Ocala.
The National Weather Service (NWS) says the tornado touched down for 35 minutes with winds that peaked at 110 mph. The FOX 35 Storm Team Thunder Truck was out storm chasing that morning when our crew came face-to-face with the tornado.
On Monday, places like the Dunkin on State Road 200 are picking up. Their front door was blown off and four windows were smashed. A man waiting in the drive through line captured the tornado coming right at them.
That man capturing the skies turning dark and the rain picking up. Then you can see debris flying off of roofs, branches flying, and his own window smashed as the tornado came barreling through. Another man right across the street at the Circle K felt his car get lifted.
"I thought for sure I was dead man. For sure," said Hector Dirato.
Vicki Bennett is the Practice Manager at Cats and Dogs. She arrived Saturday to see her clinic in shambles. The roof gone, entryways wrecked and employee cars destroyed.
"It was just so fast and the damage it did in that quick, short amount of time is just unbelievable," said Bennett.
Cats and Dogs had to relocate 57 animals but thankfully no one, including the six staff members in the building, were hurt.
"A gentleman from Walking Dog Ranch offered his facility for us to bring them all there and my employees are working over there," said Bennett.
The NWS believes the tornado touched down in West Dunnellon around 7:45 a.m. We found evidence of shredded billboard near State Road 41. Meteorologists believe it traveled about 26.6 miles to Ocala crossing paths with the Thunder Truck on I-75 before fizzling out by 8:20 near the Saddleworth Green Apartments.
"It was pretty traumatizing, but I’m thankful to be alive," said resident Olivia Glenn.
Marion County is ensuring the safety of damaged structures and providing services like shelters and goods to families in need.
"I want to make sure people are prepared and without this even happening we need to take our alerts seriously as they come through," said Marion County Emergency Management Director Preston Bowlin.
Marion County reports that no one was killed during this event and only has reports of minor injuries. As for Cats and Dogs they are working to set up donations in order to help pay for the repairs.
Watch FOX 35 News for the latest updates.