8 tornadoes reported as Nestor lashes southeastern US

Brian Lada

Nestor made landfall Saturday on St. Vincent Island, a nature preserve off of Florida's northern Gulf Coast -- barely sparing areas of the Florida Panhandle that were devastated by Hurricane Michael one year earlier, however, other areas weren't as lucky.

"It is a relief not to have a big storm bearing down on you. Last year was tough, but right now we're in pretty good shape," Apalachicola resident Mike Koun told AccuWeather.

Although Nestor was nowhere near the power of Hurricane Michael, it still brought a scene of destruction to areas of Florida in its path.

Tornado victims are starting the recovery process after 8 reported tornadoes were spawned by Nestor. There were six tornadoes in Florida on Friday and two tornadoes on Saturday, one in Florida and one in Georgia. Tornado damage was also reported near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said inmates will be put to work helping residents clear debris and fallen trees in Polk County.

A possible tornado tore through the city of Seminole, Florida, leaving behind significant damage late Friday night. A Seminole resident recalled the moments when he was jolted awake by the sound of debris crashing and banging.

"Well I was in bed back here in this back bedroom and all of a sudden it started raining really hard and it woke me up. Hardly anything wakes me up, but it woke me up. Then the bed started shaking in the trailer and I thought 'uh oh were on our way to Kansas' because it was really bad," the resident said.

"Scary, I was never so scared," he said.

confirmed tornado was reported near Lakeland, Florida on Friday night. There were reports of damage to homes and a church in Kathleen, Florida, which is located just northwest of Lakeland.

"Thankfully, we have not had any reported serious injuries," Sheriff Grady Judd said in a Saturday statement. "However, there are many people dealing with damage to their homes and property this morning, some of it severe."

Kathleen Middle School damage following a possible tornado in parts of west-northwest Polk County on Friday night. (Image/Polk County Sheriff's Office)

As Nestor moved farther eastward, it churned up a confirmed rain-wrapped tornado in southern Georgia around 7 p.m. EDT that crushed a car and downed a path of trees, according to a report from the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.

As of 5 a.m. EDT Monday, the number of power outages had dropped to around 4,000 across Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas combined, according to PowerOutage.us.

Tropical storm warnings and storm surge warnings were issued along Florida's west-central coast before the storm made landfall. A tornado watch was also issued for part of central Florida due to the risk of tornadoes on the eastern side of the storm.

Storm surge along the coast and heavy tropical downpours led to flooding across parts of Florida Friday night into Saturday morning.

AccuWeather National Weather Reporter Jonathan Petramala posted a video on Twitter early Saturday morning which showed storm surge flooding beginning in Apalachicola, Florida.

By 5 a.m. EDT Saturday, Daytona Beach, Florida, had already broken their daily rainfall record, with 3.26 inches fallen and the rain still coming down, the National Weather Service office in Melbourne said on Twitter.

A report from Franklin County, Florida, stated that several trees were down along Highway 98 five miles west of Carrabelle. Bay water was reportedly splashing onto the road.

Ahead of the storm, AccuWeather meteorologists gave Nestor a rating of less than 1 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes across the Florida Panhandle. The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes ranges from values of less than 1 to 5.

In terms of economic impacts to the region, AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers said, "No significant overall economic impact is expected," from the storm.

The sun rising on Nestor as it neared landfall on Saturday. (Image/NOAA)

The University of West Florida closed its campus on Friday afternoon and remained closed until midday Saturday due to Nestor.

Shellfish harvesting areas off the coast of Florida were closed by the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services until Nestor passed.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a state of emergency declaration on Thursday, as a result of the storm's projected impacts. This is in addition to lingering issues from last week's deadly collapse of a hotel that was under construction near the city's French Quarter.

City officials are working to demolish two unstable cranes at the site of the Hard Rock hotel collapse, which killed three people and injured more than 20 people on Saturday, Oct. 12. According to the Associated Press, officials will demolish the cranes with a "series of controlled explosions that would drop them straight down without damaging gas and electricity lines and historic buildings."

Tropical Storm Nestor strengthened into the 14th-named system of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season early Friday afternoon over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, there are currently no tropical disturbances that are expected to develop into a named-tropical system such as Nestor.

"In terms of the long-range outlook for the Atlantic Basin, there may be significant inhibiting factors for tropical development during the latter part of October into early November," Kottlowski said.

"It is possible that tropical activity effectively shuts down after Nestor," he added.

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