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Tornado survey teams to assess storm damage in Florida Panhandle

Winter Weather Florida
Posted at 6:12 AM, Jan 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-10 06:12:18-05

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — Storm-related injuries were reported in Florida, but no deaths, after punishing tornadoes hammered the Panhandle and northern part of the state on Tuesday.

A section of Panama City Beach showed parts of roofs blown away, furniture, fences and debris strewn about, and a house that appeared tilted on its side, leaning on another home.

The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee planned to send out three tornado survey teams on Wednesday to examine suspected tornado damage in Walton, Bay and Jackson counties in Florida, and two more on Thursday to look at Houston County, Alabama, and Calhoun County, Georgia.

Many areas of Florida remained under flood watches, warnings and advisories early Wednesday morning amid concerns that streams and rivers were topping their banks. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who gave his State of the State address Tuesday as tornado warnings were active outside the Capitol, issued an executive order to include 49 counties in North Florida under a state of emergency.

“Turn around, don't drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles,” the weather service warned in a statement.

Meanwhile, a possible tornado knocked down several old brick storefronts in downtown Bamberg, South Carolina, blocking the main intersection through the city about 60 miles south of Columbia.

Thousands of bricks blocked U.S. 301, the main road through that part of the state, and about 40 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, said Democratic Rep. Justin Bamberg, who represents the area.