VIERA, Fla. --
The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down just after 7:00am Friday, with winds at 65 to 75 mph. It was on the ground for six miles and started at Jacques Drive in Viera and ended at Del Sol Drive in Merritt Island
"That's all it was, one shot and it was gone," witness Rick Limonge said.
Instead of getting ready for school or work, residents found themselves huddled in closets. The twister tore down screened-in pool enclosures and ripped off shingles from homes in Viera. Boats were thrown into the air by the powerful winds.
"I saw the little blow up boat and then I saw the catamaran come across," Olympic hopeful Dominique Valle said.
Olympic hopefuls from around the world, training in Brevard County to make the windsurfing team, found their boards broken into pieces.
"Not something you would think about, a tornado would just fall on us," Valle said.
At a neighboring apartment building, a roof was left covering part of the pool instead of the building it was attached to. Neighbors woke to windows shattering.
"Windows were breaking and the house felt like it went, Whooh, whooh, like it was going to explode," resident Tim Pishad said.
Residents across the region believed it could have been so much worse.
"Luckily, nobody was out walking in the rain, because they could've been killed by this debris," Pishad said.
A lot of people will be spending the night trying to dismantle the crumpled screened enclosures.
The total numbers of homes damaged was 280 in Viera. An apartment building and several other homes were also damaged in Cocoa Beach.
TORNADO DAMAGES HOMES IN MERRITT ISLAND
Six homes were damaged by the tornado in Merritt Island.
All of a sudden the wind picked up, we noticed a funnel over the river. It was so fast, it only took three, four seconds then it was done, witness Mara Lauzums said.
Residents watched the tornado as it blew toward Merritt Island and then landed on Del Sol Drive in a residential neighborhood. It tore tile from the roof of the Lauzums home, uprooted trees, blew over a fence and destroyed their ham radio tower, which was their last line of communication when the power went out in the middle of the storm.
It just buckled over. I can't imagine the kind of force to do that, Ivers Lauzums said.
Ivers Lauzums was at work when the storm landed in his backyard, six miles from where it started, but his wife watched the wind swirl and, through the pouring rain, she saw it rip apart everything in its path.
There was a tile that slit through the screen and into the pool, everything was flying, Mara Lauzums said. We'll take care of it and go on, but, boy oh boy, what a 2010.
The Lauzums are insured, but dont know how much the damage will cost them.
The tornado may have been minor, but the wind was strong enough to uproot trees and knock down power lines. Florida Power and Light crews had to cut down a tree that got caught in one of its lines and then caught fire. Bright House lines were also destroyed.
Firefighters went door-to-door to the six homes with minor damage to make sure everyone was okay. Emergency management officials said they didn't have reports of any injuries.
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