Pockets of South Florida lost power and trees early Monday from a tornado and strong storms that barreled through overnight. Crews spent the morning clearing roads and parking lots.
The National Weather Service determined a tornado with top winds of 107 mph ripped across Northwest Miami-Dade as a slashing rain storm soaked Broward and Miami-Dade.
The tornado touched down east of the Palmetto Expressway (State Road 826) between Northwest 55th and 48th streets, moved east through Hialeah and finished its 2.3 mile ramble near West 12th Street and Second Avenue in Hialeah. The tornado fluctuated in strength from EF-0 (65 to 85 mph) to EF-1 (85 to 110 mph).
According to FPL’s PowerTracker, 5,484 homes remained without power in Miami-Dade and 415 in Broward, as of 12:35 p.m. Monday. Several major roads, including Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami, flooded from the heavy rain, and highways were slick during the morning commute. Traffic lights remained out on Miami Beach’s Dade Boulevard into Monday afternoon.
While conditions improved after 6 a.m., South Florida was still placed under a wind advisory through Monday evening. There also is a riptide advisory in effect.
All that rough weather will make way for cooler temperatures. After reaching a forecast high of 77 on Monday and Tuesday, overnight lows are forecast to dip into the upper-50s and then a nudge up to the mid-60s overnight Wednesday and Thursday.
The front is the same one that caused havoc and death in Georgia and other southern states on Sunday. At least 18 people died in the severe weather.
On Monday morning, a crawl on the city of Miami Springs website told residents to steer clear of debris as FPL and city employees worked to lift downed trees out of the streets. Springs residents dual-tasked, dodging debris while photographing it for social media.
Meanwhile, workers in the industrial parks west of Northwest 72nd Avenue marveled at the visuals.
At aircraft repair business VHL Aircraft, the now-glassless front door still worked. Ironcially, the bills in the mail bucket by the door never moved in the storm. Metal arms and air conditioning vents, in the ceiling before the storm, hung down to chest level. Those who dodged past that to reach the building’s work area were offered a shot of fresh Cuban coffee as well as the sight of the 16-foot high garage door blown into the work area.
Out in the parking lot, a semi-trailer lay on a couple of cars. A semi-truck across the fence tipped as if about to start a domino-style tumble with other trucks.
“We got called by security at 5:30 this morning,” VHL quality manager Jorge Sorzano said. “We’ve got to get the company up and running. There’s a lot of work to be done and this can’t keep us down.”
Across the street, a two Seko Logistics trucks were turned over on their driver’s sides.
“It’s not what I was expecting when I got a call at 3:45 a.m. that my burglar alarm went off,” Seko’s Miami franchise owner Sean Lones said. “I thought, it would be strange for someone doing something like that with the storm going so heavily? But I came out anyway to check.”
Lones figured the damage came from near hurricane force winds from a tornado. He hadn’t seen the area’s truck and trailer damage since 1992’s Hurricane Andrew.
A mix of trailers, trees and fencing blocked Northwest 50th Street about 200 yards east of 74th Avenue.
But the turned over trucks, though visually arresting, are “more of a distraction,” Lones said. They’ve got 13 other trucks.
“The lack of power makes it a challenge today,” he said.