PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A South Florida man and his dog weathered a scary moment on Saturday when a tornado roared into the area, flipping their vehicle after powerful winds sent it airborne.
Zach Means, of Palm Beach Gardens, said he was worried about his dog, Marlin -- and his own safety -- as low-flying debris tumbled past his vehicle, WPTV reported.
“He knew,’” Means told the television station about his 5-year-old border collie, who was sitting in the passenger seat up front.
Means said he had received an alert on his cellphone, warning him about a tornado warning in Palm Beach County.
“At that point, I knew it was probably best for us to try to get off the road,” Means told WPTV. “So, we were headed back to the apartment and, unfortunately, we were headed into the path of the tornado.”
According to the National Weather Service, the tornado was only on the ground for about 11 minutes but it was destructive, WPEC-TV reported.
Means was nearly home when 130 mph winds from what was classified an EF2 tornado lifted his vehicle and flipped it over on U.S. 1 near PGA Boulevard.
He said landed in the northbound lanes, wheels down, according to WPTV.
“It was really (an) intense scene, but the actual car flipping, that was very unexpected,” Means told the television station. “Like, I could see all the stuff flying around but the car wasn’t shaking or moving a lot. It just went from, ‘Oh, I’m watching this in front of me,’ to, like, ‘It took us away, like instantly.’
“When the car started to flip, like, I do remember kind of like a flash of seeing the airbag go off and the glass break, but then, you know, we were back upright, and I was just sitting there with my hands on the wheel, and it seemed to happen, basically, instantaneously.”
Another driver was in a vehicle near Means and recorded the frightening scene.
Means was mostly concerned about Marlin.
“Honestly, it was the dog,” Means told WPTV. “Turned around, it was the first thing I did, and I said his name and his head pops up from the trunk.
“I’m lucky, my dog’s lucky, everybody’s lucky that, you know, everybody walked away unscathed.”