Storms Cause Accidents, Power Outages, Traffic Delays; the Region Was Struck by Tornados, Winds, Lightning on Thursday

Article excerpt

Byline: CHARLIE PATTON

A violent storm tore across Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia Thursday afternoon, bringing high winds and rain, lightning and several potential tornado sightings.

In its wake, the storm uprooted trees, downed power lines and damaged buildings. Fortunately, while there were reports of a few injuries, none appeared serious.

One storm hit St. George in Charlton County, Ga., about 12:45 p.m., damaging several buildings, said Phil Peterson, a forecaster with the Jacksonville office of the National Weather Service. The same system probably caused damage to a residential compound outside Callahan in Nassau County a few minutes later, he said.

Meanwhile, a second storm system struck near Lawtey in Bradford County about 1:20 p.m., downing power lines and damaging a number of mobile homes. That storm continued east, causing damage in Clay and St. Johns counties.

Investigators from the weather service will be assessing damage today to determine if the destruction in St. George and Lawtey resulted from tornados touching down, Peterson said. He said there was a possible third touchdown in Clay County near Green Cove Springs.

The violent weather was caused by several factors including a potent squall line coming from the Panhandle, a warm front and a strong vertical wind shear, he said.

Today is expected to be warm and pleasant, with mid-day temperatures in the 70s, he said. …