Tornado tears through Madison County farm

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 4, 2018

MADISON COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) -- Residents in Madison County continued to clean up Tuesday after severe weather hit over the weekend.

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down early Monday morning. The twister tore through a family farm in northern Madison County.

"That building rolled completely over and back up right at least once," said Norman Otis.

Otis owns a farm that was in the tornado's path.

"The wind was blowing really really hard, and when I realized how bad it sounded I grabbed Lori and I said, 'honey, let's get into the bathroom where the partitions are closer,'" he said.

Monday morning, Norman and his wife Lori woke up to a scene of destruction. An office building on their property was lifted like it was made of Lincoln Logs, landing yards away. Their home was blown off its foundation nearly five feet away.

"I'm the oldest of four, and usually the oldest child is the one that wants to fix things for the rest of the siblings," Otis said. "I feel like I've done that for years, but I don't have any fix for this."

The National Weather Service confirmed it was an EF-1 tornado, touching down for about two miles. Officials surveyed the Otis' property Tuesday.

"Mercifully, tornadoes don't affect large areas, but we come to places like this, rural communities where that's all they've got is their homes and their farms, and to see the damage like this, it's kind of difficult," said Mark Wool, Warning Coordinating Meteorologist with the NWS.

Much of the Otis farm and home is destroyed, but their family, and every single animal, are unharmed.

"I did an awful lot of hard work on all this stuff to get it, but the fact that Lori is uninjured and still here, I wouldn't exchange her for all of the devastation," Otis said.

Now, the family is unsure what they will do next, but still have not lost hope.

"It's hard to see now, but because I have faith in God, I know this will all turn to good," Otis said.

The NWS estimated winds of about 100 mph caused damage to the Otis' property.

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