Joe Harding’s home among those damaged by Ocala tornado that caused $12M in damage
Damage to a neighboring home of Rep. Joe Harding. Photo via Joe Harding.

Harding photos
The Marion County Property Appraiser's office expects damage estimates to rise.

Rep. Joe Harding’s Ocala home was among those damaged by severe weather in Central Florida Saturday. The Ocala Republican was not at home, though family was.

No injuries were reported.

“We are blessed,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

The National Weather Serve has determined the area was indeed hit by an EF-1 tornado. The storm had estimated wind speeds of 110 mph. “The track is estimated 25 miles long 65 yards wide,” reads a preliminary damage report released Monday by NWS.

Image

Marion County Property Appraiser Jimmy Cowan, meanwhile, told the Ocala Star-Banner on Monday that the storm, on the ground for all of 35 minutes, caused at least $12.3 million in property damage in the county.

Harding warned those living in the area to continue to be vigilant even after the storm passed.

“This message is for those impacted by the tornadoes today in Ocala. Please stay out from under trees, there are many hanging limbs that are often referred to as ‘Widow Makers,'” he posted on social media on Saturday. “Today was a tough day for all of us. We have so much to be thankful for, material things can be replaced, human life cannot.”

Harding said a possible tornado touched down in his Ocala neighborhood. His next-door neighbor’s home was severely damaged and seven of 10 homes in the neighborhood suffered “catastrophic damage,” Harding said.

The National Weather Service office in Jacksonville said a preliminary survey of the damage confirmed an EF-1 Tornado passed near Dunnellon and Ocala beginning about 7:45 a.m. Saturday. It had estimated wind speeds of 110 mph and was on the ground for about 25 miles.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has deployed resources in the region.

“I am on the ground in Ocala, Florida where a tornado has damaged vehicles and property. These are photos of some of the damage in the Saddleworth Green apartment complex,” tweeted Kevin Guthrie, DEM director. “The Florida Division of Emergency Management is committed to supporting local response efforts.”

Harding has sent out reminders to constituents to be careful when surveying areas damaged by the tornadoes.

“If you live in a community hit hard by Tornadoes yesterday here are some things to know: Keep your house and car doors locked, not everyone that will come into your neighborhood has good intentions; Stay out from under trees, there are many limbs that will continue to fall; Before hiring a contractor to do work on your home, talk to your insurance company; Be weary of out of town roofers. Roofers watch the news and they will come from out of town to chase work. Make sure they are licensed and check for reviews online. As always I’m here to help in anyway I can.”

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office announced tarps will be made available to everyone impacted by the severe weather. Those are available at the Sheriff’s Office multipurpose room on Northwest 10th Street in Ocala.

Harding noted the Saddleworth Green apartments house some 150 to 200 units, and the damage there forced evacuations of all damaged buildings. He said rapid response by the Salvation Army and Red Cross has brought supplies to the area.

WFTV tracked the storm path through Central Florida on Saturday, and Ocala was among the first areas to report severe damage.

Most of the damage was contained to buildings along the State Road 200 corridor and in the El Dorado subdivision. That community, where Harding lives, has about 62 lots in total.

The Ocala Star-Banner reported the storms also caused a crash on Interstate-75.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


12 comments

  • Warning

    March 13, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    God: the next one won’t miss

    • Impeach Biden

      March 14, 2022 at 8:09 am

      So God is a Democrat then. God needs to spend more time thinking about all of the morons he is protecting then. The list is very long. I’ll give you Biden and Harris for starters.

      • Brandon Won, Inbred.

        March 14, 2022 at 10:16 am

        You voted for Trump and you’re calling someone else a moron?

        • Trump 2024 for prison!

          March 15, 2022 at 1:21 am

          I wish I could upvote your comment!

      • Juanjo

        March 14, 2022 at 1:46 pm

        I don’t think God is a Democrat but he obviously does not like people who are all in for injustice, people like Rep. Joe Harding. I think God was giving Joe a message about his hypocritical moral posturing and his Trump support.

      • Spineless GQP

        March 15, 2022 at 1:22 am

        God is not real, inbred!

      • HereComesLeann

        March 15, 2022 at 10:14 am

        Are you one of those people so in love with trump you become obsessed with Biden? Y’all fascinate me! I wish I could do an in-depth study on you but I can’t stand to be around you for more than 5 minutes at a time.

    • TW

      March 16, 2022 at 5:28 am

      really?

  • Ron

    March 14, 2022 at 7:52 am

    Let’s build more wood framed homes. This is why Fla. Homes are built of concrete block. Who allowed the two wooden hotels to be built in Ocala? Must be closet deals being made to allow this to happen.

    • TT

      March 16, 2022 at 5:29 am

      block will shatter also in high wins

  • samantha_cruz

    March 14, 2022 at 3:34 pm

    “We are blessed,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

    yeah… it’s totally a ‘blessing’ when god destroys your home with a tornado… because you just KNOW that if that tornado had destroyed the home of someone opposed to his law he’d have never ever suggested that god was punishing them for their ‘wicked ways’.

    #HardingIsAnIdiot

  • Comments

    March 16, 2022 at 10:24 am

    No blessings whenever you crunch into tornado 🌪️ ally and try to flip things one day you will run out of wood

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Aimee Sachs, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories