Palm Beach Gardens residents recount terrifying night of storms

Residents nearly hit with flying debris in tornado
Posted at 8:23 PM, Jan 23, 2017

If those storms kept you awake last night, it was a terrifying moment for many families in Palm Beach Gardens, whose homes were pummeled with flying debris.

PHOTOS: Look at more pictures of storm damage

The National Weather Service is still surveying the damage but believes the storm that hit the area was a tornado.

One of the hardest hit areas was Isle Verde Way in the Maribella Estates, where families are picking up the pieces from shattered windows, downed trees and a mess of shingles torn from rooftops.

"We're safe. The stuff can be replaced," said resident Amber Murray.

She said her whole house shook when the storm hit.

"I could see a wall of wind when I looked out the window... It was definitely a tornado," she said.

Murray quickly grabbed her children to take shelter in a safe room away from windows.

"The winds were crazy. I just put the covers over my head and I was just like what's going on," said Murray's daughter, Danielle. "And I hear my parents coming in saying it's a tornado and I was just in shock."

Neighbor Stuart Gellman lives just one street over, where houses were virtually untouched.

"I saw a bright sky of total lightning. It was just amazing sight. It almost looked surreal," he said.

Jay Ahmed, who also lives on Isle Verde Way, explained that flying debris caused the most damage to his home. The windows on the front of his home are busted out. His car was pelted with debris, damaging the windshield.

"Gust of wind, the shingles were like bullets. They came through the windows of my kids room and through my friend's car as well. Luckily nobody was outside at that time," he said. "I'm calling my insurance company, hopefully they'll take care of the rest."

Next-door neighbor, Dylan, was almost hit by a shingle that came flying over his bed and into a wall.

"Definitely makes me appreciate my life more. I easily could've died tonight," he said.

He was sleeping in his bed when projectile glass and shingles shot through his room.

"I was half awake and I was trying to process everything," he said. "My door was actually blown off the hinges. Pretty scary."

A sharp chunk of debris narrowly missed his body. It's now wedged into his wall.

"It was very scary. I mean, if it just hit a different way, the tile would've gone through and really hurt him or killed him," said Dylan's mom, Monica.

She said everything happened so fast.

"Didn't think it was going to be a big deal, so we just went to sleep " she said.

The family has lived through 15 years of Florida hurricanes but nothing like this.

"Hurricanes are a cakewalk next to this... I mean this was really like I said pretty frightening," Monica said. "It's clean up and just rebuilding. Thank God the important part is that we're OK."

No serious injuries were reported in the area, other than some scratches and bumps. Neighbors say the focus now is on clean up.

"I've been through four hurricane's at least since I've lived in this house. And I've never had damage like this," said Murray.