On Sunday (January 16th), the residents of Fort Myers, Florida woke up to the news that a tornado was tearing through the area.
Fox Weather took to Twitter to share a video of the storm. “Video shows a tornado moving through the Fort Myers, Florida, area this morning.”
According to Naples Daily News, National Weather Service (NWS) forecaster in Tampa, Stephen Shiveley, declared Southwest Florida had an “active weather situation” with a tornado warning in Lee County about 9 a.m. and extending throughout the morning. By 9:15 a.m., several portions of north Collier County had tornado warnings.
Following the storm, Naples Daily News spoke to 81-year-old Fort Myers resident Edward Murray, who revealed the tornado tossed his Cottage Point Trailer Park mile home on top of a neighbor’s home. “That’s my house that’s turned upside down,” he explained. “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.”
Luckily, Murray and his daughter Kokie managed to escape from the mobile home unharmed. “I was so happy when I saw the sky. I said to the devil, ‘It’s not going to be today.’”
Jeff Funchion, a neighbor of Murray, also spoke about how his mobile home sustained some damage from the storm. “I’ve never been through something like this. The windows broke and that was it. The TV beeped and then it hit.”
Dan Langenfeld, another resident in the trailer park, also commented, “I had a rough wake-up call and by the time the windows blew in it was over with. It didn’t last long. The wife, the dogs, and I are fine. I think I’ll have a cold one later.”
Tornado Reportedly Flipped Semi Tractor-Trailer Truck in Collier County Florida
Meanwhile, during the storm, it was reported by the Florida Highway Patrol that a tornado flipped a semi tractor-trailer truck on its side. This incident happened in Collier County at the westbound 96-mile marker on I-75. The accident caused temporary road closures. There were only minor injuries caused by the crash.
The Florida Highway Patrol officials also revealed that troopers were able to spot the tornado just a little after 9:30, traveling east towards Golden Gate. “Please travel safe and in accordance to weather conditions,” Florida Highway Patrol declared in a statement.
Florida Power and Light also report that Lee County had 15,374 people without power at 9:45 a.m., and Collier County had 1,364. Lee County emergency officials also evacuated Tropicana Park, which has 470 homesites serving a 55+ community.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross Florida Gulf Coast at Heartland Chapter are reportedly providing assistance to the families affected by the tornado in Fort Myers.