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Winds tear roof off house, then rain pours in

Published Sep. 28, 2005

Karen Arbolaez awoke to what she thought was gunfire at about 10:30 Saturday night when storm winds ripped away the back half of her home's roof.

"I thought the roof was going to cave in," she said Sunday morning as she surveyed damage to her house on Nodoc Road south of Brookridge and west of Brooksville. "It sounded like a machine gun and someone throwing ice at the windows."

With the roof gone, rains came.

Water filled the attic and poured into the nine-year-old house through light fixtures and air ducts, Arbolaez said.

"It ran down the walls like a waterfall," she said. "It was like they tipped the bucket upside down."

The National Weather Service reported a line of severe thunderstorms in Hernando County during the hours before midnight Saturday. Winds gusted to 65 miles per hour at Hernando Beach and storms dumped an inch of rain on the county.

Dan Sobien, a meteorologist with the service, said winds with a thunderstorm can destroy a house just the same as a tornado.

"These concentrated gusts can be quite deadly," he said. "And they can do a lot of damage."

Sunday morning, kitchen pots and pans stood to collect water still dripping from ceiling fans and light fixtures. Outside, debris from the home's shingled roof littered Arbolaez's front yard.

"I had just planted that spot with poinsettias," she said shaking her head. "It was so beautiful too."

Arbolaez, who shares the home with her husband, Roberto, has homeowner's insurance and contractors promise that by tomorrow, plywood sheets will protect the house from further rains.