Severe weather tore through Marion and Lake counties on Thursday afternoon, leaving a path of destruction in some areas. Wind gusts of 60 mph and quarter-sized hail were observed by weather spotters.
The line of storms impacting northern Lake County late afternoon had packed a punch an hour before as it passed through Ocala and Silver Springs.
Firefighters responded to a house fire on SE 24th St. believed to have been caused by lightning. Fire crews put caution tape around the house. The homeowner, Fred Miley, said he was inside at the time, and it was the loudest noise he has ever heard. Marion County Fire crews responded around 4:30 p.m. Neighbors said the lightning strike shook the entire block. One woman said pictures fell off the wall.
Miley said he didn’t realize it hit his home at first, but after waiting a bit, he checked the attic and saw flames, and got out of the house. He said the place is a total loss, but he still has hope.
"I can tell you that when the firefighters went in there, I have a Jesus picture at the head of my bed -- he said that wasn’t touched."
There were also reports of a large tree that had fallen on a house on SE 38 St. Additionally, power poles were down in the roadway, near the intersection of NE Jacksonville Rd. and NE 70th St. while a tree blocked southbound lanes of SE 182nd Ave. further south in Ocklawaha.
FOX 35 viewer Freddie De Luccie recorded a strong gust of wind that passed through his Ocala Shores neighborhood. Across town, Kelly Riggins-Quartochi said her neighbor's trampoline traveled 70 yards into her backyard. The owner of that trampoline, Paula Loe said strong winds slammed the trampoline into a utility pole and she had to call the fire department. She was still waiting for electricians to repair the damage late Thursday.
In Silver Springs Shores, a canopy collapsed onto a car at the Fairways Condominiums complex. Southeast of Lake Weir, a FOX 35 viewer said he spotted a funnel cloud around 5 p.m. The National Weather Service has not confirmed any tornado touchdowns at this time.
A large tree fell on a house along SE 38 St. in Ocala, Florida on Thursday, June 23, 2022.