Experts from the National Weather Service surveying damage Sunday morning in two mobile home parks confirmed the belief of area residents that their neighborhoods had been hit by a tornado Saturday morning.
"They did determine that it was a tornado in the mobile home parks," said meteorologist John Pendergrast in the service's Melbourne office. "It was very brief, with a short path of about one-tenth of a mile. It was a weak tornado, with 65-70 mile per hour winds."
A weather service synopsis of the event reports the first tornado warning was issued at 8:29 a.m. for an area encompassing Hobe Sound, Jupiter Island and Jonathan Dickinson State Park. A second tornado warning was issued 9:10 a.m. for east central Martin County, covering an area farther north to Port Salerno. Both warning areas covered the area north of Hobe Sound where damage to various structures occurred, the synopsis stated.
Residents in and around the Cambridge 55+ and Ridgeway Mobile Home subdivisions, between U.S. 1 and Dixie Highway, said pounding rain around 10 a.m. was followed by an eerie silence, then a loud boom that lasted about 10 seconds.
Martin County Fire Rescue Administration Chief Jon Belding said there was one minor injury and that 42 homes had some damage, including four roofs and two vehicles.
Early reports indicated that a tornado may also have touched down in the Indiantown area. Pendergrast said the survey team could find no evidence that had occurred.
Radar tracked the storm cell's path from southeast of Indiantown to north of Hobe Sound, where it exited land and went over the Atlantic Ocean.
Pendergrast said the weather service team planned to visit the barrier island Sunday look of evidence that the tornado may have touched down in that vicinity.