Weak tornado damages homes, roofs, fences in Melbourne, NWS confirms

A short-lived tornado touched down Thursday afternoon in Brevard County and damaged a number of homes in Melbourne, the National Weather Service confirmed to FOX 35.

The NWS confirmed to FOX 35 late Thursday evening that a weak tornado – rated EF-0 – touched down within the Ixora Park neighborhood shortly before 6 p.m. on Thursday. It's estimated to have been on the ground for 3 minutes, traveling .25 miles. It had estimated max winds of 75 mph, and an estimated max width of 75 yard, the NWS said.

Around the same time, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, and Melbourne Beach as severe thunderstorms and showers moved through. 

City of Melbourne Mayor Paul Alfrey shared several photos of damaged homes on his Facebook page, including some with damaged roofs, collapsed awnings, damaged stop signs and street signs, and fences that had been blown down. 

According to the NWS' initial report, the tornado touched down near Adams Avenue and moved south-southeast toward Sarno Road. Home carports, roofs, siding, and soffits were damaged, as well as reports of multiple uprooted or partially uprooted trees, scattered tree branches, and snapped power poles, according to the NWS' preliminary report.

"Fortunately no one was injured near the area of Sarno Road when a tornado impacted several streets and damaged numerous homes," Mayor Alfrey said in his Facebook post. He added that some power poles had been knocked down during the storm, so some people may also be without power.

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Possible tornado touches down in Melbourne, Florida on June 27, 2024| Credit: Mayor Paul Alfrey

FOX 35 Storm Team Meteorologist Noah Bergren said shortly before 6 p.m., doppler radar showed what appeared to be rotation within the storm, as well as a "debris signature," indicating debris was swirling amidst the storm – one of the key indicators of a suspected tornado when meteorologists are tracking severe weather.

However, it is ultimately up to the National Weather Service to survey the damage, confirm whether a tornado caused the damage, and then assign it a rating (to determine how powerful the tornado was).

What is an EF-0 tornado? How are tornadoes rated?

Like hurricanes and earthquakes, tornadoes are given a rating by experts to determine how strong and damaging a specific one was.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale, sometimes referred to as the EF Scale, is used to rate tornadoes on a 0-5 scale using estimated wind speeds and surveyed damage.

EF Scale

  • EF-0: 65-86 mph
  • EF-1: 86-110 mph
  • EF-2: 111-135 mph
  • EF-3: 136-165 mph
  • EF-4: 166-200 mph
  • EF-5: 200+