It flung trees across streets, twisted metal awnings into pretzels, peeled roofs like orange skins and turned a hot tub into a Frisbee.
Tornadoes are fairly common in South Florida but one as powerful as the twister that battered 50 homes in West Broward Tuesday night ranks as a once-a-decade rarity. The National Weather Service estimated its wind speeds as high as 120 mph, roughly equal to a Category 3 hurricane.
The only injuries were minor but homeowners along the tornado’s one-mile swath through Sunrise and Plantation neighborhoods were stunned by the extensive damage.
In the front yard of Hugo de Ferrari’s two-story peach-colored home, a huge tree engulfed his black Hummer. It had been ripped out of a yard two houses down.
"I have a Jacuzzi in my backyard," he said, as he snapped pictures under still-gray skies Wednesday. "I don’t know where it came from, but it’s there now."
Vivi Yom Tov Assidon, standing in front of his roofless red brick home in a Sunrise subdivision just east of the landmark Ikea store off Interstate 595, said he “felt lucky to be alive.’’
Assidon had been in his bedroom while his wife and sister-in-law flipped channels between The X Factor and Dancing with the Stars when a news flash indicated a tornado warning for nearby Davie. "It’s nothing,’’ he said he thought, “Let me go get my ice cream." But as he walked to the kitchen, there was a huge boom and “everything started falling apart on top of me’’
“I look up and I see nothing,’’ he said, “It was black."
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