NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. — People are still picking up the pieces after an EF-2 tornado hit parts of Palm Beach County almost a week ago.
On Saturday, the tornado’s path was over two and a half miles long. It started as an EF-0 tornado near I-95 and grew into an EF-2 tornado soon after. A report from the National Weather Service Miami (NWS Miami) said that the storm had wind speeds of up to 130 mph.
Dani Travis from CBS12 went back to the Sanctuary Cover Apartments, Sandalwood Estates, and the North Palm Beach Community Center, which was three of the most damaged places.
There are still signs of damage from the EF-2 tornado that hit North Palm Beach six days ago. Apartment windows are still sealed, cars have holes in them, roofs are torn off, and the ground is still pushed up.
“When you first saw it, it looked pretty bad. You were like, “Wow, what just happened?” “It was like a bomb or an earthquake went off,” North Palm Beach Parks & Rec Director of Leisure Services Zak Sherman said.
Susanne Girouard, who lives in Sandalwood Estates, said, “It wasn’t like a hurricane; it was fast and strong.”
The Palm Beach County branch of the American Red Cross acted right away.
“We focus on people whose homes are ruined or have major harm. “We’re very lucky that there weren’t that many homes that met that requirement,” said Eric Roby, the executive director of the American Red Cross in Palm Beach.
Right now, the Red Cross is helping about six people whose homes meet those criteria.
“There’s a lot of cosmetic damage, like broken windows and downed trees, but many of the damaged homes can still be lived in,” said Roby.
Since the storm, the North Palm Beach Community Center has been closed because of minor damage.
“All the trees are the most obvious damage, but the field and its lights are going to cost the most to fix,” said Sherman.
Damages are likely to cost more than $200,000, but they can be paid for with insurance. Susanne Girouard, who lives just minutes away in Sandalwood Estates, says that the cleanup over the past week has gone better than imagined.
“FPL was wonderful. I’m not sure how many people who live in trees are here. We had to take out a lot, which was sad, but it’s been great,” Girouard said. “Everyone has come and done all great things. I mean, it’s amazing.”
And people who are cleaning up in many of these hard-hit places agree.
“Right now, everything looks good. “When you first drive in, it looks like the trees got a nice trim,” said Sherman. “Everyone has helped, everyone has done their part.”
After six days, the people of the town were still picking up the pieces and were just glad it wasn’t worse.
“This storm is the best example of why the Red Cross says that you should always be ready for a disaster. “In South Florida, we’re used to more than just storm season,” Roby said.
Red Cross says you can be ready for a disaster if you have a plan and practice it if you know who to talk to and where to meet up, and if you have enough emergency goods for your whole family for at least three days.
The public will be able to use the North Palm Beach Community Center again on Saturday.