Article Courtesy of The Palm Beach
By Sarah Peters and Bill DiPaolo
Published January 26, 2017
PALM BEACH GARDENS -- A trail of enormous, upturned trees with fully exposed
roots made Hood Road look like a scene from the movie “Twister” Tuesday, one day
after a tornado swept through northern Palm Beach County.
“Ouch, ouch. It just hurts,” one woman said as she drove into the Eastpointe
community in Palm Beach Gardens, getting a good look at downed ficus and black
olive trees that blocked the guest entrance a day earlier.
Residents of Eastpointe
and the Isle Verde neighborhood of Mirabella at Mirasol bore the
brunt of a tornado that swept through a six-mile long stretch of
Gardens and Juno Beach early Monday morning with peak winds of
No one was killed or seriously injured by the storm.
The trees outside Eastpointe didn’t fare as well. Six or eight
ficus trees that are about 50 years old and stand between 65 and
80 feet tall were heavily damaged, landscaper Eric Nelson said.
Three of them might be able to be saved, he said.
“It’s sad when you see big trees like that destroyed. It
took them a while to grow,” Nelson said. “They were gorgeous.”
About a dozen oak
trees were severely damaged, and 16 mature black olive trees were destroyed, he
said. Numerous palm trees lost fronds, including some that snapped at a
A tree in the Celadon Circle neighborhood of Eastpointe fell on a couple’s new
One uprooted ficus tree between the guest entrance and resident entrance likely
weighs 10 or 11 tons, Nelson, owner of Nelson Landscape Management, said. It got
“wet feet,” and the wind caught it just right, he said. It took out a pipe along
The trees that can be saved will take about five years to look normal again,
Nelson said. The trees that can’t be spared should be cut up and removed by the
end of the week, he said.
Nelson said he saw similar, but more widespread, damage after the 2005
hurricane, which brought 130-mph winds.
Meanwhile, down the street, William T. Dwyer High School and The Benjamin
School’s Upper School resumed classes Tuesday after being closed Monday for
storm cleanup. Officials from both schools estimate $500,000 to $1 million or
more in damage, mostly to athletic facilities.
A glass window above Dwyer’s stairwell cracked and four classrooms were rendered
unusable. School officials surmised the 1,500-pound roof from one of the
baseball dugouts blew off and ricocheted off a classroom roof before landing
Bleachers at The Benjamin School’s main athletic field were decimated, the turf
field was damaged and the track gouged by debris, Upper School Athletic Director
Ryan Smith said. The school has found off-campus sites for the boys and girls
lacrosse teams to practice, he said.
The baseball and softball field was mostly spared, although the start of
softball practice was delayed until Thursday. There was no damage to classroom
buildings or the new roof on the gym, Smith said.
In Juno Beach, the electricity returned, but blue tarps are on a few roofs at
the 73-unit Juno Beach Condo mobile home park, eerily reminiscent of previous
“Everyone helped each other. I’m so glad it’s over,” said Marthe Savard-Stranix,
who was assisted by the Red Cross and spent the night in a nearby hotel. The
former Quebec school teacher returned to her mobile home of 20 years Monday
afternoon after neighbors took her to the grocery store.
One of the most severely damaged mobile homes is Savard-Stranix’s. Water ruined
the floor, walls and ceiling. Her carport is smashed and awnings twisted. A blue
tarp is on her roof.
Meanwhile, residents said they were surprised how quickly the broken glass,
aluminum skirting and other debris was removed from the park on the west side of
U.S. 1 south of Marcinski Road. Residents said the power came back about 4:30
p.m. on Monday.