At least two people were killed and several homes destroyed or damaged as tornadoes and storms roared through southwest Florida early Sunday.
In Manatee County, a storm swept through the town of Duette 40 miles southeast of Tampa. Sheriff spokesman Dave Bristow said two adults died and one adult and four children suffered non-life threatening injuries in one devastated home. Four of the injured were between 6 and 10 years old, Bristow said.
Bristow identified the victims as Steven Wilson, pronounced dead at the scene, and Kate Wilson, who died at a local hospital. .
WTSP TV reported that at least four tornadoes touched down in the county. The killer tornado had a speed of 125 mph and cut a path about seven miles long, the station said.
in Sarasota Fire Rescue reported multiple rescues throughout the area, mainly in Siesta Key, WTSP said. WFLA reported that at least one home was destroyed and a woman had to be pulled from the wreckage of the home by emergency workers.
The regional American Red Cross said volunteers were responding in both counties.
Photos posted to social media showed significant damage to homes. The storm damaged several condominiums on Siesta Key, where winds were estimated to have reached 70 mph, according to the National Weather Service. As of 6 a.m. ET, according to WeatherUnderground, the Sarasota County government twitter account reported no major injuries there.
The Sarasota County Emergency Operations Center said damage assessments were underway. Florida Power and Light reported that 17,000 homes without power in the county.
“Crews are responding safely and as quickly as possible to restore power,” FPL said in a statement. “We’ve added resources to help speed restoration efforts.”
Farther south, WeatherUnderground reported, severe thunderstorms swept through the Naples area with wind gusts topping 80 mph.