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 Tornado Hits Central Florida

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PostSubject: Tornado Hits Central Florida   Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:24 am

Tornado Hits Central Florida

(CNN) -- Central Florida residents were shaken but unhurt Friday after a tornado touched down and severe storms blew roofs off buildings and knocked down power lines.

A tornado touched down late Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service.

One person was hurt, but not badly, Lake County Sheriff's Office Sgt. John Herrell told The Associated Press.

Twenty houses were uninhabitable and about 30 have damaged roofs and broken windows, some damage caused by falling branches, Herrell told AP.

Eustis is in Lake County, about 30 miles northwest of Orlando. On February 2, tornadoes killed 20 people and destroyed a brick church in Lake County.

CNN affiliate WESH reported a six-block area of Eustis was the hardest hit. Aerial video showed toppled trees, roofless houses and an overturned recreational vehicle.

"We grabbed the dogs, we grabbed the kids, we all huddled in the bathroom," Karen Seidule told WESH. "You heard the freight train, you heard the windows popping, you heard the doors popping, you heard the trees crashing down, and you're just real glad you're alive."

Widespread power outages could persist into Saturday, Eustis Police Chief Fred Cobb said.

Tornado watches and warnings expired in northern Florida as the sun rose Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Thunderstorms were forecast for the Panhandle into Alabama, as well as the Florida Keys.

The rough weather was spawned by a storm system in the Gulf of Mexico that forecasters say could become a tropical storm, The Associated Press reported.

In anticipation of the storm system's arrival, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco declared a state of emergency late Thursday and oil companies evacuated workers from oil rigs in the Gulf, according to AP.

Severe weather also struck Minnesota on Thursday. A 13-year-old boy died after being swept away by a rushing stream at a park, AP reported.

Heavy rain, strong wind and large hail led to flash flooding and power outages for 36,000 customers, according to AP.
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