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Florida tornadoes destroy dozens of homes, leave 7,000 without power

The severe weather left roughly 7,000 people in the Fort Myers area without power on Sunday.

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Hundreds of Florida residents have been left homeless and thousands more are without power after tornadoes touched down in southern Florida.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 tornado traveling 110 mph swept through Placida in Charlotte County at around 6:30 a.m. 

This tornado damaged a marina as well as mobile homes in the Gasparilla Mobile Estates neighborhood, which is located next to the marina. Charlotte County Public Safety also reported damage up the road in the Village of Holiday Lakes. Authorities say no injuries were reported in these areas. 

We responded to storm damage early Sunday morning off Gasparilla Road. Gasparilla Marina was damaged as well as the...

Posted by Charlotte County Public Safety on Sunday, January 16, 2022

About an hour later a second tornado, this one an EF-2 traveling 118 mph, struck near Punta Rassa in Lee County.

Authorities in Lee County said 30 homes were completely destroyed with another 108 reported damaged. Three residents were reportedly injured, but none of the injuries were said to be life-threatening. 

This morning, severe weather struck Lee County. Deputies with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County Emergency Medical Services personnel, and firefighters with the Iona McGregor Fire Department responded to the area to assess damage and render aid. Iona neighborhoods were tremendously effected resulting in demolished homes and displaced families. Sheriff Carmine Marceno went door to door meeting the residents and assisting them with their mangled homes. A press conference was held with Sheriff Carmine Marceno and Deputy Chief of Operations Khalid Aquil. Together, they delivered updates about the storm and how resources were being deployed throughout the area. Sheriff Marceno encourages residents to be safe and to reach out to your local first responders if you need help. Together, we will get through this.

Posted by Lee County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, January 16, 2022

An emergency shelter has been opened for the estimated 150-200 people who have been displaced by the storm. 

Residents of the Point Breeze, Tropicana and Century 21 mobile home community, located ten miles south of Fort Myers, sustained the most damage.

Sheriff Carmine Marceno met with some families who had severe damage to their homes due to this morning’s weather. While...

Posted by Lee County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, January 16, 2022

Edward Murray, 81, told the Naples Daily News in southwest Florida that he was inside his mobile home Sunday morning when a tornado picked it up and tossed it on top of his neighbor’s home.

“That’s my house that’s turned upside down,” he told the newspaper. “The tornado took me off my feet blew me toward the east wall and buried me under the sink, refrigerator, kitchen chairs and everything else.”

Murray and his daughter, Cokie, escaped unharmed, crawling from the wreckage.

“I was so happy when I saw the sky,” Murray told the newspaper. “I said to the devil, ‘it’s not going to be today’.”

The severe weather left roughly 7,000 people in the Fort Myers area without power on Sunday.

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