A strong thunderstorm moved created damage in Mary Esther Wednesday. Wednesday the National Weather Service believed it was caused by straight-line winds. But Thursday they confirmed it to be an EF-0 tornado.
Video helped meteorologists identify the storm as a tornado. A survey team of meteorologists was also sent out Thursday to Mary Esther to assess the damage. They determined it was consistent with a weak tornado, not just straight winds.
“Knowing that we saw a video of the tornado moving basically from southwest to northeast, on the right side of the track, you’d expect it to be blowing back towards, into the center of the tornado,” said Jason Beaman, NWS Meteorologist. “And that’s kind of what we’ve seen so far is the convergence back into the tornado track, based on the video that we saw.”
It was also determined that the tornado touched down two separate times. This change will help residents.
“That information will be relayed to their insurance companies,” said Alvin Henderson, Okaloosa County Public Safety Director. “We’ll document that within the Emergency Management Office for Okaloosa County. We’ll have that report available. So it will assist them with recovery through their insurance companies to be able to return them to their normalcy.”
Remember that while video was used in the decision, emergency managers and meteorologists want to remind you that while storm video is very helpful your safety is what’s most important.