Hope y'all are doing alright down there!
State of Emergency
At least 14 dead as thunderstorms, tornado tear through central Florida
UPDATED: 12:09 pm EST February 2, 2007
LADY LAKE, Fla. (AP) -- Storms blew through central Florida early Friday, killing at least 14 people, damaging hundreds of homes and a church and lifting a tractor trailer into the air, authorities said.
At least one tornado touched down.
Dozens of mobile homes were destroyed near Lady Lake in Lake County, about 50 miles northwest of Orlando. Chairs, beds and clothes were strewn about yards, with debris hanging from trees. Some homes were tossed from their foundations, while others had their roofs ripped off.
PHOTOS: Deadly Tornado Strike
The Lady Lake Church of God was demolished, its pews, altar and Bibles left in a jumbled mess. The 31-year-old, steel-reinforced structure was built to withstand 150-mph winds, the Rev. Larry Lynn said.
BLOG: Jeff Ranieri's Mom Checks In | Watch
By daybreak, parishioners gathered amid the ruins, hugging each other and consoling Lynn. They planned to clear the debris and hold Sunday services on the empty lot.
"That's just the building. The people are the church. We'll be back bigger and stronger," Lynn said.
INTERACTIVE: Tornadoes 101
The storms moved across Sumter and Lake counties around 3:15 a.m., then moved to Volusia County, where 69 homes and a county medical clinic were damaged, authorities said.
"Our priority today is search and rescue," Gov. Charlie Crist told reporters in Tallahassee as he declared a state of emergency in four counties.
In The Villages retirement community, Lee Shaver said he shielded his wife Irene with his body while huddling in a closet as the roof peeled off their home. Fence posts launched as projectiles were embedded into the wall of their home, Irene Shaver said.
"Every muscle and bone in my body shook," said Lee Shaver, 54. "We don't know what to do. We have no cell phones, wallets, IDs."
Lake County spokesman Christopher Patton confirmed the 14 deaths, 11 in Paisley and three in Lady Lake. No further details were available.
"The most dangerous tornado scenario is a threat for killer tornadoes at night, and that was the case," said Dave Sharp, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Melbourne.
At least five crashes took place within a quarter mile of each other near Interstate 4's New Smyrna Beach exit, closing the highway for about three hours.
In one case, a tractor-trailer was lifted up and landed on another semi, pinning the driver in his cab, said Kim Miller, a spokeswoman with the Florida Highway Patrol. The driver did not suffer life-threatening injuries, she said.
About 20,000 customers were without power across a wide swath of central Florida, Progress Energy spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs said.
The state Emergency Operations Center was activated, said Mike Stone, spokesman at the state's Department of Emergency Management.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.
We have some Embassy folks down there around Tampa; hope they are doing ok too.
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Thread: Tornadoes - Central Florida
02-02-2007, 12:08 PM #1
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Tornadoes - Central FloridaIf you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)
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IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.
02-02-2007, 01:36 PM #2
Yea, allow me to tell you how scary it was to hear Central Fla in the news for this.....thankfully, my relatives and friends are all in Brevard County, out of the destruction. WHEW!
It is a shame of what happened, for these people to come back from the hurricanes, and then get this.....AJ, MICP, FireMedic
This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.
02-02-2007, 11:10 PM #3
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- Feb 2002
Death toll is now up to 19 and may go up from this. Went through NW FL Thursday, only a lot of rain. Our prayers go out to those farther south.Stay Safe ~ The Dragon Still Bites!
02-02-2007, 11:21 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jan 2006
Yeah, what a tragedy. Are there any towns there with Warning systems/sirens? I know they don't normally get hit, but anything for a life, let alone 19+.
My brother works for the Villages Daily News, and lives in Ocala. They were missed, thank God. However, he will be busy with work, and cleanup. In case many of you are not familiar with the area, the Villages is 100% retirement community. Imagine the need for Medical, post-incident calls, and public assistance and evac that is needed there.
Are the departments there warned by the National Weather Service? From what they said in Ocala, it hit with no warnings. In Iowa, the National Weather Service report is paged by the county, and we go into "storm watch" mode. Of course, our Tornado Sirens and culture provide us more protection. I wonder if it wasn't taken seriously (??).
Anyone from there have the scoop?
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