Only one person suffered injuries during a strong storm that saw a tornado sweep a 4.6-mile track across northern DeLand, according to emergency-management officials.
Officials from Volusia County Emergency Management, the county Road and Bridge Division and the City of DeLand held a press conference Wednesday afternoon about the Tuesday-afternoon tornado.
National Weather Service officials said the tornado was up to 550 yards wide, and it carved a path 4.6 miles long across DeLand, roughly from the corner of West Minnesota and North Ridgewood avenues, to just east of Jacobs Road and Lake Talmadge Drive.
Volusia County Emergency Management Director Jim Judge said the particularly hard-hit areas included the vicinity of Plymouth Avenue and Stone Street, along with the area on the east side of Woodland Boulevard and north of Plymouth.
Judge said officials with the county’s Road and Bridge Division cooperated with City of DeLand staff, Duke Energy, and officials from the Florida Department of Transportation to clear many of the affected streets of debris — to allow at least one lane of traffic to pass, anyway.
Judge said the task was complicated by the requirement that power lines be de-electrified before crews can move trees and other pieces of debris.
City Manager Michael Pleus said that officials are still having difficulty getting to the hardest-hit areas in DeLand.
A total of 73 structures were affected by the twister in the DeLand city limits.
Some 28 suffered mostly cosmetic damage, or damage to an attached structure like a porch or garage. Additionally, 15 more single-family homes received minor damage, while 14 suffered major damage and one was declared destroyed.
One multi-family structure suffered major damage, along with nine businesses that received minor damage and five that suffered major damage.
The City of DeLand will be waiving repair-related permit fees, Pleus said.
In unincorporated Volusia County, 82 properties were affected, totaling $3,043,252 in damage.
The tornado was either a strong EF-1 or a weak EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, similar to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale used to measure hurricane wind speed. Judge said the twister had peak winds between 105 and 115 mph.
Judge said at the disaster’s peak, some 11,000 homes were estimated to be without electricity, with 1,000 still out as of Tuesday afternoon. Officials hoped to have the power on to most of the remaining homes by 6 p.m. Tuesday.
So far, officials know of only one person who suffered injuries related to the storm — a resident who was transported by EMS personnel to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Judge said county officials had also worked with the American Red Cross to find temporary shelter for one other person. The charitable organization has a facility set up in the parking lot of DeLand’s Lowes store, at 303 E. International Speedway Blvd., and officials said more people may need shelter as the full extent of the damage to some homes becomes clear.
DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar praised the coordination and communication between the city, county and other agencies during the disaster.
“I can’t say enough about the teamwork between the city and county,” he said.