Tornado damages dozens of homes in Micco, Florida during Sunday's storms, NWS confirms

An EF-0 tornado touched down Sunday in Brevard County and quickly traveled more than 500 feet (0.3 miles) with wind gusts up to 70 mph, damaging upwards of 30 homes and structures in its path, the National Weather Service confirmed Monday.

NWS' survey crews, citing preliminary data, estimated that the tornado had sustained winds between 60 and 70 mph and was 300–400 feet wide when it ripped through the River Grove community in Micco, Florida, damaging carports, porches, front awnings and causing partial roof loss. Micco is about 24 minutes south of Melbourne.

According to investigators, the tornado crossed U.S. Highway 1 and emerged over the Indian River as a waterspout before lifting. The tornado was on the ground for approximately half a mile, had a maximum width of 100 yards and reached peak winds 65 to 7 5mph, the NWS tweeted.

The NWS issued both tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings for portions of Brevard County on Sunday afternoon as strong storms moved across the area. On Monday, NWS meteorologists went to the neighborhood to survey the damage.

"All I heard was metal just tearing and ripping," recalled Tim Lystlund, who lives in the River Grove Mobile Home Park.

"Been through countless hurricanes, countless hurricanes, never, ever in my life, seen anything that quick, that fast, with that much destruction," he said.

Several homes in that neighborhood were damaged with car ports toppled, awnings and siding wrapped around trees, and in one case, someone's roof partially tore off, exposing the insulation inside.

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In a separate storm-related incident in Brevard County on Sunday, officials confirmed a 39-year-old boater was killed after lightning struck the vessel he was operating on the Indian River. A passenger on the boat sustained minor injuries, officials said. 

What is the Enhanced Fujita Scale?

As the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is used to classify hurricanes, the Enhanced Fujita Scale is used to rank tornados. It's a ranked scale – 0 to 5 – and combines wind estimates and the level of damage caused by the tornado.

  • EF0: 68-85 mph (gale)
  • EF1: 86-110 mph (weak)
  • EF2: 111-135 mph (strong)
  • EF3: 136-165 mph (severe)
  • EF4: 166-200 mph (devastating)
  • EF5: Over 200 mph (incredible)