Severe Thunderstorm Brings Hail, Straight Line Winds to Freer

A severe thunderstorm with straight line winds of 60 miles an hour wreaked havoc on the community of Freer in Duval County Sunday night.

The storm, which felt more like a tornado to many residents, knocked out electricity to most of the city and caused damage estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Along with the high winds came quarter- to golf ball-sized hail, ruining the progress that one Freer resident has been making on the dream house he and his wife have been building since after Christmas.

"We had it all the way up to the roof already," J.R. Bazan said. "We were getting ready to put shingles on, hopefully by the end of this weekend, and that ain't going to happen now."

Bazan, who lives across the street from the dream house he is building, said the thunderstorm came in sounding like a freight train.

A few blocks away, Freer residents Shorty and Maudie Ward described the conditions of the storm as scary, saying it was really "rockin' and rollin'."

The 60 mile per hour straight line winds caused lots of damage on Hunt Street, downing trees and fences, tearing roofs off of buildings and causing the most significant damage to Alamo Lumber.

"This was a whole, real big lumber shed, plywood shed, and it's gone," said Kevin Alamo, owner of Alamo Lumber. "And there was a whole shed that was right there. It's gone. We have a brand new shed that we just put up. It had damage to it."

While the storm brought about no official tornados, for residents and business owners in Freer, it sure felt like one.


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