No official tornado, but Myakka residents recount scare, damage

jbartolone@bradenton.comFebruary 14, 2014 

MYAKKA CITY -- Cody Miller had just put some meat on the grill outside around 5:30 p.m. when ominous clouds rolled in from two different directions and appeared to start swirling together like a tornado.

"I almost thought it was gonna form right on top of the house," he recounted Thursday, a day after the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for East Manatee.

Miller ushered his 2-year-old son, Hunter, and 6-year-old nephew, Logan, inside their County Road 675 home and made sure his dogs were safe.

"It was pretty scary," Miller said.

He wasn't the only one to experience the severe weather scare firsthand Wednesday evening.

A few minutes later, Matt Woods was standing in his kitchen with his 9-year-old son, Tristen, when he started hearing what sounded like his Myakka home's metal roof ripping off.

It turns out the wind had actually torn a 36-foot section of metal roofing off a horse barn on his property and carried it up to 75 yards before it crashed into the roof of his home on Betts Road at State Road 70.

A plastic chair was thrown so hard by the wind it em

bedded into the cement siding of his home.

"Think about the force," Woods said.

Woods' first inclination was to keep his son calm as they moved into a hallway during the storm. A person he had been on the phone with at the time called 911, but emergency personnel weren't needed.

Two experts with the National Weather Service's Ruskin office traveled Thursday to Myakka City to look for damage but found "nothing that would indicate a tornado," forecaster Richard Rude said. "Their conclusion was there wasn't any tornado," just gusty winds, Rude said.

Neighbors, however, had their own stories about damage.

Woods said a neighbor's big palm trees snapped in half during the storm and a large, wooden real estate sign was knocked over.

And Miller's wife, Annabel Larsen, spotted more damage in the area Thursday morning, including "barns that had missing tin roofs and trees uprooted," she said.

No injuries were reported.

Those who lived through the ordeal say it was like nothing they'd experienced before.

"It definitely got my heart rate up," Woods said.

Jason Bartolone, East Manatee editor, can be reached at 941-745-7011. Follow him on Twitter @JasonBartolone.

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