Tornado destroys Ocala building Sunday 

Damage is shown to Raney’s training building called The Academy that was destroyed in a severe thunderstorm the night before at Raney’s on West Silver Springs Boulevard in Ocala, Fla. on Monday, April 19, 2021. Owner Joel Raney said that security footage showed that the building was destroyed at about 7:20 p.m on Sunday, April 18 in a possible tornado touchdown or downburst during Sunday evening’s storm that moved through the Ocala area. Raney’s large warehouse just to the west of The Academy only sustained minor damage with an air vent being ripped off the top of the building. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

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Posted April 19, 2021 | By Brendan Farrell, 

Damage caused by a Sunday night tornado is shown to Raney’s training building at 2940 W Silver Springs Blvd. on Monday. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

A tornado blew through Ocala on Sunday night just before 7:30 p.m. cutting a swath of about 2.5 miles near Interstate 75 and West Silver Springs Boulevard, according to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.

The twister tore through a building at 2940 W Silver Springs Blvd. The building, a training facility for Raney’s Inc., is a few hundred feet from the truck parts retailer’s main warehouse.

Al Sandrik, a NWS meteorologist, said that the tornado touched down near Silver Springs Boulevard and headed southeast.

For most of the event, the twister had winds of between 60 and 90 miles per hour, but when it hit the Raney’s building in strengthened to wind gusts of 110 miles per hour, which would be a “strong” 1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF Scale), Sandrik said.

“Briefly, it was strong enough to destroy a building,” he said.

Joel Raney, Raney’s CEO, received a call from a friend and a text that half of the building was gone. Raney looked at the building’s camera system from his phone and couldn’t believe what he saw.

“Sure enough, I saw half the building was missing,” he said.

Raney said that the main building was intact, and his business was up and running Monday morning. They will have to rebuild the academy but he is glad no one was hurt. He was also touched by those who reached out to him after the new spread.

“Obviously the most important thing was nobody was over in that building and keeping people safe, for sure,” Raney said. “Everybody’s been really willing to help… it’s really neat how well Ocala responds to things like this.”


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