Tracking Elsa aftermath: Surveyors take stock of hurricane damage

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The National Weather Service is hard at work in Duval County today after yesterday’s tornado ripped through Jacksonville’s Southside in minutes.

Scott Cordero with the National Weather Service says they’ve spent the day studying the path and patterns of the tornado.

“What we do is regularly assess damage after a tropical system, after a tornado, or even after flooding. And today we are looking at tornadoes, and we have two distinct tornadoes: one here in Duval County and one in Camden County,” he says.

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The NWS says they have confirmed the tornado touched down.

“What we are seeing so far is indicative of F1 damage, about winds of 102, 107 miles an hour. And what that did is, it was on the outer rain bands of tropical storm Elsa.”

He adds they now have an accurate picture of exactly what happened as the tornado came down.

“With any tropical system you could have quick spinners that happen, they only take a minute or two. And it could go for a few miles in a matter of one or two minutes because they are moving at 30 to 40 miles an hour; which in this case was moving from south to north at 30 miles an hour, ... between quarter to the hour until 50 after 4 o’clock. That’s when the main damage occurred here in Duval County.”

From his assessment, he believes cleanup will take a few months and cost millions of dollars.

“You know what, I did get done talking to one business owner actually about a quarter of a mile away from here, and he said it’s probably, for his estimate for his business alone, it was about 1.5 million. So I put that in perspective, I don’t have the totals to add up cumulatively, but I would imagine it’s in the millions.”

Businesses in need of help should reach out to their local government for guidance. “Best contact is for your emergency management and Duval County, city of Jacksonville, they are top-notch.”

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