PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - Escambia County was on high alert Saturday night when a strong line of thunderstorms rolled through, bringing a dangerous situation.
"We got the report of a possible funnel cloud forming around 7 o'clock Saturday night. We then got reports that it came ashore and continued to move in a northerly fashion," said John Dosh, Escambia County Emergency Manager.
The tornado came in off the waters near Perdido Key and touched down several times.
Lloyd Pichelmayer lives on Fenceline Road, one of the residential areas the tornado touched down in. He says the weather around his home turned rough in a hurry.
"I was watching NASCAR on Channel 10 and the weather came on. I was like 'Uh oh'. I just heard the roof start shaking and it sounded like it was about to come off. All the trees started blowing really hard and I was ducking," Pichelmayer said.
The damage in the area around Fenceline Road appears very minor. However, for many residents, the strength of the storm was more than enough to cause concern.
"It was probably around 50 to 60 mph wind gusts. It wasn't too bad but it was much worse than I expected," said Pichelmayer.
Dosh says there was no structural damage reported from the tornado.
"Water spouts that typically form over water and turn into tornadoes are typically minimal in intensity, that's normal. Now they could be abnormal and turn into stronger storms. Fortunately, we didn't have that Saturday night," Dosh said.
Pichelmayer says the reported tornado came as a complete surprise.
"I never would have expected a tornado down here. I've seen waterspouts in the water, but never around here," said Pichelmayer.
Officials with the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center confirmed that the damage from the tornado was minor.
Still, they stress to always be prepared for the possibility of tornadoes during any strong thunderstorms.
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