An EF1 tornado caused significant damage in Martin County, leaving a trail of destruction in its path. The tornado hit Hobe Sound at 10:40 a.m., with peak winds of 85-95 mph, downing trees and causing chaos. The tornado likely touched down west of U.S. Highway 1 and continued east along Bridge Road, crossing the St. Lucie River into Jupiter Island.

Martin County Fire Rescue reported that Jupiter Island was inaccessible due to trees blocking Bridge Road in Hobe Sound. Crews worked tirelessly to clear the road, but the process could last into the evening and possibly Thursday. The damage included numerous ficus trees toppled along Bridge Road before the Hobe Sound Bridge, with no confirmed structural damage to the bridge at first glance.

The tornado also caused damage near a Winn-Dixie grocery store in Hobe Sound, with trees, signs, and even car windows smashed. Residents described the scene as chaotic and frightening, with debris flying and carts scattered. Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries, although at one point, 37,000 people were without power, which later dropped to around 1,700.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder reported widespread damage in the county, particularly on Bridge Road toward Jupiter Island. The Hobe Sound Bascule Bridge was closed to all traffic due to missing barrier arms. Power lines were also down outside Hobe Sound Elementary School, causing a power outage and leading to the transfer of students to Port Salerno Elementary School.

The National Weather Service will conduct a damage survey to confirm if a tornado indeed hit Martin County. The community is coming together to assess and address the aftermath of the storm, showcasing resilience and unity in the face of natural disasters. Stay informed with the latest updates on the situation and stay safe during severe weather events.