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Severe storms blow through Martin County with heavy rain, strong winds

FPL said power outages reached nearly 4,000 following the storm.
Severe weather blows through Palm City on April 20, 2020.
Posted at 6:13 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 00:09:15-04

PALM CITY, Fla. — Fast-moving storms caused blinding rains, strong wind gusts and hail late Monday afternoon in areas of Martin County.

Tree limbs and palm fronds littered areas of Martin Downs Boulevard and residential yards in Palm City.

The strong wind gusts, heavy rain, and hail caused property damage, scattered debris, and thousands of power outages.

Palm City felt the brunt of the storm, with the height of the damaging weather lasting just minutes.

Immediately after the storm passed, residents, business owners, and rescue crews scattered to start clearing up the mess.

“Terrifying,” described Palm City resident, Melissa Knox.

She was driving to pick up her son when the weather kicked up.

“The weather just got progressively worse so I wasn’t sure if I should keep driving or stop. Then the hail got really big. I couldn’t see anything in front of me. Then the car started rocking and then the tree came out of nowhere,” Knox said.

A tree fell onto the back of her SUV, temporarily trapping her.

“They told me not to get out. Wait until police get there because of the power lines,” Knox said.

She was able to eventually crawl out the passenger side of her car. She said she was grateful her son wasn’t in the car.

“Usually I pick him up earlier, but I was on a call tonight and got stuck, so God was with me,” Knox said.

WPTV viewers also sent pictures of quarter-sized hail in Stuart and Port Salerno.

At approximately 5:21 p.m., the National Weather service in Melbourne issued a tornado warning for northeastern Martin County.

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Video shows tornado cross Florida's I-75

As a severe thunderstorm moved at about 40 mph from west to east across Martin County, rotation was indicated on radar.

Residents were directed to take shelter in Palm City, North River Shores, Stuart, Port Salerno and Sewall's Point.

Viewers from those areas reported extreme, damaging winds as the severe thunderstorm moved quickly across the area and then out into the ocean.

At 5:43 p.m., WPTV reporter Meghan McRoberts tweeted video near Leighton Park in Palm City of the severe storm, which looked similar to a tropical storm or hurricane.


The National Weather Service will survey the damage either in person, or through images from residents, as well as from other recorded data, to determine whether a tornado touched down.

We will update you as soon as information is issued from the National Weather Service.

WPTV has received many videos and pictures of the storm and will continue to post them on as well as on social media.

FPL said power outages reached nearly 4,000 following the storm.

Crews had restored all but a few hundred outages by Monday night.

WEB EXTRA: Storms packing heavy rain, strong winds hit Martin County