Miami-Dade County

A tornado touched down, and a swath of South Florida is cleaning up

Severe weather downs trees, damages homes in Miami Springs

Residents of Miami Springs woke up to major damage to their trees, homes and cars on Monday after a storm passed through the area. The neighborhood was under a tornado warning briefly overnight.
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Residents of Miami Springs woke up to major damage to their trees, homes and cars on Monday after a storm passed through the area. The neighborhood was under a tornado warning briefly overnight.

Trees, power lines and trucks took a beating Monday from a tornado that churned its way through Northwest Miami-Dade with winds topping 107 mph.

Crews spent the morning clearing roads and parking lots. An apartment building in Hialeah was ruled uninhabitable. Miami Springs neighbors marveled at large toppled trees.

The tornado touched down east of the Palmetto Expressway between Northwest 55th and 48th streets, moved east through Hialeah and finished its 2.3-mile ramble near West 12th Street and Second Avenue in Hialeah. The tornado fluctuated in strength from EF-0 (65 to 85 mph) to EF-1 (85 to 110 mph), according to the National Weather Service.

SEE PHOTOS OF THE DAMAGE

Heavy winds from an overnight storm also knocked out power for thousands of people in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. And several major roads, including a stretch of Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami, flooded from the heavy rain. Traffic lights remained out on Miami Beach’s Dade Boulevard into Monday afternoon.

The front is the same one that caused havoc and death in Georgia and other southern states on Sunday. At least 18 people died in the severe weather.

The tornado touched down east of the Palmetto Expressway between Northwest 55th and 48th streets, moved east through Hialeah and finished its 2.3-mile ramble near West 12th Street and Second Avenue in Hialeah. The tornado fluctuated in strength fr

There were no reported injuries or major damage in South Florida. While conditions improved after 6 a.m., South Florida was still placed under a wind advisory through Monday evening.

And now the good news: All that rough weather is paving the way for cooler temperatures and sunny skies. Overnight lows were forecast to dip into the upper-50s overnight Monday and Tuesday. The sun will shine through Thursday, with highs in the 70s and overnight lows in the mid-60s.

On Monday the city of Miami Springs website instructed residents to steer clear of debris as FPL and city employees worked to remove downed trees from the streets. Springs residents dual-tasked, dodging debris while photographing it for social media.

Meanwhile, workers in the industrial parks west of Northwest 72nd Avenue marveled at the visuals.

At aircraft repair business VHL Aircraft, the now-glassless front door still worked. The bills in the mail bucket by the door never moved in the storm. Metal arms and air-conditioning vents, in the ceiling before the storm, hung down to chest level. Those who dodged past that to reach the building’s work area were offered a shot of fresh Cuban coffee as well as the sight of the 16-foot-high garage door blown into the work area.

Out in the parking lot, a semi-trailer lay on a couple of cars. A semi-truck across the fence tipped as if about to start a domino-style tumble with other trucks.

“We got called by security at 5:30 this morning,” VHL quality manager Jorge Sorzano said Monday. “We’ve got to get the company up and running. There’s a lot of work to be done and this can’t keep us down.”

Across the street, two Seko Logistics trucks were turned over on their driver’s sides.

“It’s not what I was expecting when I got a call at 3:45 a.m. that my burglar alarm went off,” Seko’s Miami franchise owner Sean Lones said. “I thought, it would be strange for someone doing something like that with the storm going so heavily? But I came out anyway to check.”

A suspected tornado uprooted trees in Miami Springs on Jan. 23, 2017.

Lones figured the damage came from near-hurricane force winds from a tornado. He hadn’t seen the area’s truck and trailer damage since 1992’s Hurricane Andrew.

A mix of trailers, trees and fencing blocked Northwest 50th Street about 200 yards east of 74th Avenue.

But the overturned trucks, though visually arresting, are “more of a distraction,” Lones said. They’ve got 13 other trucks.

“The lack of power makes it a challenge.”

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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