Northwest Florida

Cleanup continues after EF1 tornado hits Fort Walton Beach

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) - The National Weather Service in Mobile has determined it was an EF-1 tornado that left a path of damage along Okaloosa Island and Fort Walton Beach. 

The tornado formed as a waterspout in the Gulf then made its way across the island. The roof is gone and there's a lot of damage in and around Bob and Michelle Seitz's home on Sailfish Drive. 

"I could see the sky so then we looked out there and there's a tornado right in the middle of the sound," Michelle said. 

They heard the tornado warning announced on WKRG and she and Bob went downstairs just before it hit. 

It continued north and knocked over at least a dozen trees at St. Mary's Catholic Church and school. It also twisted up metal bleachers nearby. 

"We were sitting at our house then all of a sudden, we heard this big boom like a train sound so we went and got in the tub," Kathryn Morrow said.

Morrow lives close by and she and her kids go to the church. They were checking out the damage Monday morning. 

Twenty people had to be evacuated at apartments on Robinwood Drive. Jason Beaman from the National Weather Service in Mobile was on the ground surveying the damage. 

"So you've got winds coming into the tornado that caught up underneath the eaves of these roofs here and helped to lift them off," Beaman said. 

County Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel said neighbors were stepping up to help. 

"As always, whenever there's a major disaster, I've seen it with hurricanes, they come together," Ketchel said. "Everybody's reached out."

There are at least eight families staying in a hotel until they can get back on their feet. 


Mobile County

Baldwin County

Northwest Florida