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Saturday storms leave area counties with damage

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A large tree fell, damaging the Blitchton Station apartment complex located at 1741 NW Seventh St. Courtesy: Ocala Fire Rescue

Update: 10:55 a.m. 3/25 – High wind damaged several homes in Ocala on Sunday. Firefighters responded to 25 emergency storm-related calls. Fallen trees damaged five buildings and others pulled electrical lines down. Several Ocala residents sought shelter and relocation. No injuries were reported.

Between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday, Bradford County experienced a severe wind event some are classifying as a tornado, though the National Weather Service has yet to confirm the classification, said Michael Heeder, public information officer for Bradford County Emergency Management. The event occurred along County Road 125 and County Road 225A. Most affected homeowners had insurance, and emergency workers are making repairs to infrastructure, power lines and debris. Some of the worst damage included the collapsing of a handbuilt barn. No people or animals were injured, and there are plans to rebuild the structure, said Heeder. Assistance will continue to be offered to those requiring services.

A line of thunderstorms, resulting in severe storm warnings and a tornado warning, moved through North Central Florida and left about 440 homes in Columbia County without power as of Sunday morning.

Columbia County Emergency Management officials said they expected power to these homes to be restored by early Sunday afternoon.

Fallen trees and property damage by Saturday night were caused by the storm.

Bradford County had property damage in Lawtey due to the storm. One mobile home was left with holes and broken windows from lemon-sized hail. A tornado is believed to have moved through the area.

A pole barn near Lawtey was destroyed by the storm. Eight horses inside were able to escape unharmed. Courtesy: Bradford County Emergency Management

Flooding and broken trees remained in an area hit by strong winds. Courtesy: Bradford County Emergency Management

A mobile home near Lawtey was damaged by hail and left with holes and broken windows. Courtesy: Bradford County Emergency Management

Clay County was also under a tornado warning early Saturday afternoon. However, emergency services checked the area and found little damage.

Putnam County saw a few cases of structural damage and some fallen trees.

Officials in other counties — including Suwannee, St. Johns, Marion and Union — said they had no reports of damage. No injuries had been reported.

For the latest on strong weather in North Central Florida, tune to WRUF-TV on Cox channel 6 in Gainesville. You can also watch online.

Dana Edwards contributed reporting.

About Brittany Bassler

Brittany is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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