Two tornadoes that struck parts of central and southwestern Florida on Sunday killed two people and destroyed several homes.
A tornado carrying winds of up to 127 miles per hour struck the town of Duette, Manatee County, at 3:45 a.m. Another tornado struck Siesta Key in Sarasota County. Along with those dead, five others were injured including four under the age of 10 years, sheriff spokesman Dave Bristow said.
Abc13.com reports that the deceased were identified as Steven Wilson and his wife, Kate. Steven died in the tornado, while Kate was transported to a hospital where she suffered a heart attack and died. Their son, also named Steven Wilson, rescued his four children out of the house after crawling out of the destruction caused by the twister.
Severe damage was reported to homes in Siesta County. One home was destroyed, while significant damage, including roofs being blown off, occurred to the other homes. A woman had to be pulled out of the wreckage. There were reports of minor flooding, downing of trees and damage to parking structures in the city.
“I’m amazed to see anybody got out of this alive,” Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube said.
Several rescues were carried out, Sarasota Fire Rescue said. The county Emergency Operations Center said as many as 45 homes were damaged, with the total worth reaching in excess of $3 million, as indicated by preliminary damage assessments.
Power outage was experienced by as many as 17,000 customers, Florida Power and Light said. The company tweeted that power to majority of the customers will be restored by Monday. As reported by USA today, the company said in a statement, “Crews are responding safely and as quickly as possible to restore power. We’ve added resources to help speed restoration efforts.”
Richard Rude, National Weather Service meteorologist, said that tornadoes aren’t uncommon in the area. “Particularly when you are dealing with an El Niño, where the jet streams drop farther south, it’s conducive to having some wild storms,” he said.