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Emergency manager: Ocala tornado struck without warning Sunday evening

A tornado damaged a building on West Silver Springs Boulevard -- also known as West State Road 40 -- in Ocala Sunday evening. Photo: Joe Byrnes

A tornado that caused relatively minor damage and no injuries in Ocala on Sunday evening came pretty much without warning.

Preston Bowlin. Photo: MCSO

Marion County Emergency Management Director Preston Bowlin told County Commissioners Tuesday that his emergency alert system known as Alert Marion did not send out a warning.

National Weather Service meteorologists told him they, too, were surprised, he says.

“There was no notification,” Bowlin said. “That started so low under the radar and happened, you know. So they were really surprised with that as well.”

The weather service determined Monday morning that it was an E-F-1 tornado with peak winds of 110 miles per hour.

It traveled 2-point-3 miles and lifted the roof off a commercial building on West State Road 40 east of I-75.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.