Cape Coral tornado
Florida Governor Rick Scott was in Cape Coral Sunday to see the damage from a tornado that hit the area Saturday night.
Authorities say the Cape Coral tornado touched down with winds up to 135 mph and damaged several homes, left thousands without power for a time, but caused no serious injuries or deaths.
Police say the Cape Coral tornado caused scattered damage over about 12 square miles.
“I remember all through school we’d have to go to the basement of the school for tornado alerts and our neighborhood got hit by tornadoes. Our house never did, but there were areas near where I was growing up that did. It’s a pretty scary time. Fortunately in the case of the hurricane you have a little bit of notice. This you don’t have much notice.”
The initial damage estimate stands at $5.5 million.
Rich Koch, who lives on Southwest 17th Avenue in Cape Coral, told Naples News that a man making a delivery had to shelter overnight inside of his home. Koch said they had no warning of a potential tornado.
“The windows started to break and I told them to get out of the living room,” Koch said Sunday. “I thought we were going to die. And the pressure inside the house changed. There was this terrible pressure. You knew something was totally wrong.”
The governor said the state will do everything it can to help the town get back on its feet.
— Frank Bumb (@frankbumb) January 10, 2016
The Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) restored power to 7,000 customers, however 2,000 are still without power, according to ABC 7. Some could remain without power throughout Sunday.
“I have not seen wind like that, I mean the wind had to be going in excess of sixty mies an hour to do what it did to those palms,” David and Justin Ezell told ABC 7. “At that time, I’m worried about survival. My neighbors were just telling me they were looking for a place in the house to hide.”
According to the National Weather Service, the El Nino weather system will cause winter and early spring to especially active for severe weather in Florida this year.
The deadliest tornado to hit Florida was in 1998, when a series of tornadoes, some categorized as F3 to F4, ripped through communities in Kissimmee, killing 42 people and injuring close to 300, reports Examiner.