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Reported sightings of 2 possible tornadoes in Martin County

Only minor damage reported, Martin County Fire Rescue says
A tornado was spotted near the North Fork of the St. Lucie River on Jan. 15, 2024.
Posted at 6:17 PM, Jan 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-16 06:26:50-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Extreme weather moved through the Treasure Coast on Monday night.

Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service have confirmed two tornadoes.

The first one touched down around 5 p.m. near Interstate 95 at mile marker 107.

About a half hour later the second tornado was reported near Becker Road and I-95.

These followed tornado warnings for St. Lucie and Martin counties.

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The storm also dumped inches of rain over a short period, flooding streets and stalling cars. Thousands were without power in the two counties at one time.

Martin County Fire Rescue said there were reported sightings of possible tornadoes at the following locations:

  • 4:46 p.m.: The Stuart Tower reported a tornado touched down 8-10 miles west of the airport
  • 4:51 p.m.: Rescue officials received a call at 6906 Southwest Woodbine Way in Palm City for a tornado that touched down, causing the powerline to fall down and hit a palm tree
  • 4:59 p.m.: Stuart Tower reported two additional tornadoes touching down 8-10 miles northwest of the airport, apparently traveling northeast in the Palm City/Stuart area

Martin County Fire Rescue said so far there was only minor damage reported in the 6900 block of Southwest Woodbine Way.

There were also some downed trees in a residential area in a rural section of Palm City near I-95.

The National Weather Service said the "circulation" appeared to have traveled northeast toward Palm City and North River Shores and likely crossed the St. Lucie River as a waterspout.

No injuries have been reported.

WPTV reporters spotted flooded roadways and downed trees, some of which were intertwined with power lines, in Martin and St. Lucie counties.

At North River Shores in Stuart, Patty Tortorici told WPTV reporter Kate Hussey the conditions were some of the worst her family has seen slam their home so quickly.

Her electricity was knocked down by toppling trees. Hundreds of other neighbors also were without power
“We don’t know how much damage there is because we don’t have power," she said.

Tornado uproots trees in North River Shores

In Port St. Lucie, several cars were stalled in water with the parking lot at a Winn-Dixie flooded on Port St. Lucie. Some vehicles had to be towed.

The road by City Hall was blocked off from what appeared to be flooding.

Port St. Lucie police said there were at least four other intersections flooded.

Steve Alonso told WPTV reporter Joel Lopez he lives nearby and thought he would make to to the store real quick.

"I was wrong," he said.

Rising water also was a problem at Hammock Elementry School along California Avenue in Port St. Lucie.

Brett Schultz told WPTV reporter Chris Gilmore flooding has been a problem there for 40 years and this is the worst he's seen. "This place has always been bad. It used to be worse but it's still bad," he said.

Danielle Byrnes and her husband moved to Veranda Gardens in Port Saint Lucie just a few months ago.

They were doing work in their garage just before 6 p.m. and moved their car into the street.

They told WPTV the water came up quickly and flooded the car.

Danielle’s husband rushed to move it and says while the engine turned on, the electrical was giving them issues.

They’re worried its sustained significant damage.

Danielle said she’s upset because her home is new and in a new neighborhood that’s not considered part of a flood zone.