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'Explosive' and 'violent' storms hit Brevard County community, causing EF0 tornado

23 to 30 structures damaged in the River Grove community
Homes were damaged by an EF0 tornado that Micco, Florida, on April 16, 2023.
Posted at 5:16 PM, Apr 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-18 01:03:03-04

MICCO, Fla. — While mother nature spared the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast the worst of the storms Sunday, a community just north of Sebastian is cleaning up after a tornado touched down.

The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF0 tornado, which was 100 yards wide and peak winds estimated between 65 and 75 mph, damaged 23 to 30 structures in the River Grove community of Micco.

Resident Tim Lystlund grew up in Vero Beach and said he's been through his share of storms. But what he went through Sunday night shocked even him.

Tim Lystlund explains what it was like when the tornado hit the community on Sunday.
Tim Lystlund explains what it was like when the tornado hit the community on Sunday.

"I have never seen anything that fast, that explosive, that violent and then gone," Lystlund said.

He was outside getting ready to cook dinner in the River Grove community but decided to hold off as the storm neared.

"I saw two funnel clouds. They didn't touch the ground, and they blew over," Lystlund said. "When people say you hear a freight train, I didn't hear a freight train. I heard metal and roofs" 

His neighbor's roof ended up about half a mile away on U.S. Highway 1. He lost his roof as well.

"The roof went, ... and I said, 'There goes the tornado,' and it looked like it was only 50-60 feet above the ground." 

Kyle Beatty was among the crews helping residents cleanup after the tornado.
Kyle Beatty was among the crews helping residents cleanup after the tornado.

The tornado was on the ground for about one-10th of a mile, damaging about two dozen homes in the community, according to the NWS.

In the spirit of neighbors helping neighbors, not even 24 hours after the tornado touchdown, crews were out cleaning up the scattered debris.

 "A lot of these people [who were impacted] are retired and on disability," Kyle Beatty of Beatty Lawn Services said. "They can't clean up in this weather, much less clean up in any weather."

Lystlund said his home was engineered to do what it was supposed to. The roof detached and released while keeping the rest of the home intact.

No one was hurt by the storms and the Red Cross was on site Monday helping residents without roofs get temporary shelter.

A EF0 tornado is in the 65-85 mph range. An EF1 is 86-110 mph, also considered "weak."

After touching down in Micco, NWS in a survey damage report said the tornado continued to the east-southeast into the Summit Grove Condominiums before crossing U.S. 1 and emerging into the Indian River Lagoon near the Sebastian River Marina and Boatyard.