Reported tornado damages Fla. homes

By: by Rana Moussaoui
By: by Rana Moussaoui

EUSTIS, Fla. - Severe weather, including a possible tornado, damaged about 50 homes, shearing the entire second story off one home, authorities said Friday.

Radar indicated a tornado spun off from a storm system that crossed through central Florida before spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, touching down late Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service.

One person suffered a minor cut, but no other injuries were reported in the area about 30 miles northwest of Orlando, Lake County sheriff's Sgt. John Herrell said.

Herrell said 20 houses were uninhabitable and about 30 other homes have broken windows, debris from fallen tree branches or roof damage.

He said the second story was shorn off one house, but the residents escaped unharmed.

Television news footage showed a boat overturned in a yard, a toppled mobile home and downed trees.

Karen Seidule said the storm blew away the chimney and shattered nearly every window in the home she shares with her husband and son. The family was on the porch when the storm passed through.

"We were joking that if we hear that choo-choo train coming, we'll know that it's bad," Seidule's son, Brett MacLaughlin, told the Orlando Sentinel, referring to the typical "freight train" sound that tornadoes create.

The storms were part of a low pressure system centered off Florida's Gulf Coast that could strengthen and bring rain and tropical storm-force wind along parts of the coast as early as Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.

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