Monday, November 20, 2017
Tampa Bay Weather

Tornado destroys seven Central Florida homes, damages 150 others

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PALM COAST — Seven homes were destroyed and more than 150 damaged when a tornado struck a Central Florida neighborhood Saturday, city officials said.

The National Weather Service said the tornado had winds as high as 110 mph and was 25 to 75 yards wide.

Palm Coast city officials said 142 homes were partially damaged in the Indian Trails neighborhood and 22 homes had moderate damage. The damage was estimated at more than $5 million. No injuries were reported.

City officials Sunday released several 911 calls from concerned residents.

One woman said she was driving when the winds knocked out her windshield and a side window. She was frightened and unaware that a tornado had passed through, and told the operator in a shaking voice that she had driven away from the storm to safety and was covered in glass. Another caller said the storm had knocked down two large oak trees in front of her house.

A tornado warning was issued at 6:56 p.m. and Flagler County Emergency Management issued a code red warning at 6:58 p.m. The first call reporting the tornado came in a few minutes later to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office dispatch.

Joe LaPlante was sitting on his screened-in porch with a friend listening to what they thought was a regular storm passing through. Suddenly, it sounded like a train rattling by and the two men jumped inside just before trees came crashing through the porch where they had been sitting, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

The tornado knocked down power lines, power poles and trees. Many roads were impassable. At one point, nearly 3,000 homes were without power, but Palm Coast city officials said Sunday that power has been restored to most households, and roads have been reopened. The area is still filled with debris and city officials urged residents and gawkers to stay off the roads.

The American Red Cross is providing food and shelter assistance.

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