Cleanup underway after tornado hits Tavares

It came out of nowhere. A twister left a path of destruction in Tavares. Neighbors say they’re glad it wasn’t worse.

A sign outside The Fish Camp on Lake Eustis in Tavares says it all: “closed due to tornado.” That’s how bad the damage was. 

“Usually this has artwork.”

There’s no art now, but it’s certainly a piece of work at Jim Jordan’s restaurant, where the National Weather Service confirms it was a tornado in Tavares that tore through the building Wednesday. 

“It took this part of the roof of up top. [It was] just a loud like a freight train sound and the kitchen started shaking,” said The Fish Camp on Lake Eustis owner Jim Jordan.

Cell phone video shows how severe the storm was. Jordan’s restaurant and a warehouse about a mile away were both damaged by the tornado, but everything else in the area was spared. Gary Sanford works at the tire shop next door. 

“The rack of the tires is still laying down. But that's about all we received and a couple broken branches,” said Sanford.

He says if the storm had hit the tire shop, the building would have likely crumbled, but they were lucky. He says he’s grateful to still have work.

“Hate to have to come back and wait on the unemployment line for a while until they get this all fixed. Nobody could afford it,” said Sanford.

Jim Jordan’s restaurant, however, needs a lot of repairs before he can re-open for business.

“The only good thing is that it didn't ling over the building. Had it done that, it would have been a total tragedy,” said Jordan.

Crews are still on the roof trying to clean up that hole in the roof. It’s unclear when the restaurant will re-open.