Storms bring damaging wind, heavy rain to parts of Central Florida

- There were reports of wide-spread damage across parts of Volusia County following a line of storms that passed through the area on Thanksgiving morning. 

The National Weather Service says it wasn't a tornado, but residents in the Colonial Colony North mobile home park in Holly Hill say it sure felt like one. The NWS said it was 50 mph winds that ripped off roofs and tore up the area. Ten mobile homes damaged. 

The entire roof of Molly and Norman Westover's Florida room is now resting more than 10 feet up in a tree.  A lid for a pick up truck bed flew off a neighbor's truck, went over four homes and came to rest under their Cadillac.

Molly said, "At least it didn't hit the top. I don't understand how it got all the way over there. it was unbelievable."

They were watching TV at around 10:30 Thursday morning, when the storms arrived.

"It was raining real hard then all of a sudden it down-poured! Down-poured! It was like noisy!"

Now, with no electricity, most of the Thanksgiving dinners there weren't happening, so they went out to eat.  Many say they are thankful this wasn't much worse.

A DeLand community is also cleaning up after a short, strong storm tore through their  neighborhood. One resident of Raintree Village, Chuck Wert, said strong winds bent back his roof like a tin can.

“The chairs were in their blowing and suddenly, 'Whoof, up it went!,'” Wert explained.

Just up the street, Lucille Barrett said the storm ripped her screens from their panes. 

“Our chairs went across the porch, our screens all blew in,” she said.

Residents say the Thanksgiving storm was short and intense, cutting their power as well, blowing debris everywhere, knocking down the entrance fence, and damaging a nearby gas station. The Raintree Village manager, Harriet Henson, said then the holiday spirit brought neighbors together.

“People come out and pretty much help each other,” Henson said.

Wert said that's something to be thankful for. 

“We're all one family here. Everyone gets out and helps everyone, so that's what happens,” he said.

Residents say this community was also hit hard by Hurricane Irma. They say they'll come together to fix the place up one more time.

The  storms are part of a surface low that is moving from the eastern Gulf of Mexico  across Florida on Thursday. 

Expect showers and thunderstorms, with heavy rainfall possible, to accompany this system during the Thanksgiving Holiday and into Friday across northern and central Florida.  Coverage of showers and storms will increase this afternoon from metro Orlando, south to Lake Okeechobee. 
The primary threats from storms today are frequent lightning strikes, hail and wind gusts up to 60 mph.  Localized flooding is also possible. 

Forecasters say the weather should dry out by the weekend, as the low moves farther north and east into the western Atlantic.

 

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