Twenty mobile homes damaged from possible tornado in western Indian River County

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Emergency crews are investigating damage from an apparent twister to several dozen homes in three communities off State Road 60: Vero Palm Estates on 82nd Avenue; Countryside at 87th Avenue and Paradise Park on 88th Avenue, according to Indian River County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jeff Luther.

The National Weather Service in Melbourne preliminarily confirmed the tornado touchdown.

A tornado warning was in effect from 11:30 until around 12:52 p.m. for Indian River County and St. Lucie County. Martin County's tornado warning ended around 12:40 p.m.

Indian River County Schools were under a "code yellow" during the tornado warning, meaning the schools were placed on lockdown.

There are no injuries reported at this time.

Sheriff's office spokesperson Jeff Luther said deputies and emergency officials are at the scene.

"One [of the mobile homes] had the roof taken off of it," Luther said. "We're trying to asses the damage and injuries."

There's confirmed damage to at least one home on Flamingo in Vero Palm Estates.

The American Red Cross has opened up the Gifford Youth Activity Center for sheltering, said Rob Levine, CEO of the local Red Cross. He said damage assessment teams are going into the three communities where there's tornado damage.

There is a power outage at 82nd Avenue and deputies are directing traffic at State Road 60. It's dark around the Hyundai dealership nearby. Roads are collecting standing water on the shoulders; people seem to be staying indoors and not driving if possible.

Power outages have been reported to the Vero Beach Municipal Utilities at Kingswood Estates and the 1100 block 6th Avenue in area of Tropic Villas. Florida Power and Light officials have not be reached for an update on power outages.

In Countryside, a few residents said they saw the tornado come down at Countryside just about 2 minutes after 11 am.

"Yeah, I was scared," said resident Sam Balucci, who said he heard a humming sound before the tornado hit.

"You could just see stuff flying in the trees," said resident Don Debaggis.

There were no injuries and some of the residents at the hit homes were not home at the time, sheriff's officials said.

A roof is off of a home in the 2300 block of 85th Court in Paradise Park, sheriff's officials said.

Several dozen homes in Vero Palm Estates were damaged, including shattered windows, destroyed car ports, and least one manufactured home shoved at least 4 feet off its foundation, according to rescue crews.

State Road 60, between the 8300 block and the 8400 block is "under water," according to deputies at the scene. Still, the issue is more the wind and debris in the roads.

Further east, the north and southbound lanes of U.S. 1 are flooded at 12th Street, stretching to 15th Street, Vero Beach police report.

According to the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, a deputy suffered minor injuries after being involved in a car accident.  His vehicle hydroplaned.  The accident happened in the 6300 block of Route 60. 

The deputy was responding to storm damage calls in Indian River County.  He was released from the hospital earlier on Monday.

He is back on the streets working. 

The Emergency Operations Center in Vero Beach on 43rd Avenue is now open.  The  Gifford Youth Activity Center located at 4875 43rd Avenue in Vero Beach has also been open.  The shelter will provide food and cots for storm victims or concerned residents overnight.    

  Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers contributed to this report.

 

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