Severe weather dumps hail on parts of Martin County

PALM CITY — A severe thunderstorm dumped 2 1/2 inches of rain and hail up to one inch in diameter on parts of Martin County Saturday, with the most violent weather reported in Palm City and Jensen Beach.

"They got the brunt of it," said Scott Kelly, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Melbourne, said of the two areas. "They were worked over pretty good."

The service issued a tornado warning 3:32 p.m. Saturday that said thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes were over northwestern Martin County, southwestern St. Lucie County and the city of Okeechobee.

Kelly said there were unconfirmed reports of a funnel cloud near the Martin/St. Lucie County line about 3:30 p.m.

It was unclear whether these were the same reports of a funnel cloud just south of the Martin Highway interchange on Florida's Turnpike. Dan Wouters, Martin County Fire Rescue division chief, said a unit was dispatched to the turnpike area to investigate. It found tree branches down, but no evidence of a tornado.

His crews were on a call unrelated to the storm about 4 p.m. when they reported hail near Golden Bear Way in Stuart.

Kelly said the National Weather Service had several reports of hail and Wouters said a power line was knocked down in Jensen Beach.

"We had a few instances of one-inch hail near Jensen Beach and Palm City," Kelly said. "One-inch hail, the size of a quarter, might be enough to dent a car's hood." But no damage was reported, he added.

Saturday afternoon's weather was caused by colder than usual winds in the upper atmosphere.

"You combine that with surface heating and the east coast sea breeze and you can get strong or severe storms," Kelly said.

There was some local flooding caused by the storm, most notably on Mapp Road just south of its intersection with Martin Highway, where construction on the new Veterans Memorial Bridge is taking place.

Several YouReporters submitted pictures of the hail. Click here to see some of them.

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