Reliving the nightmare: Radar showed tornado hitting Duette again

DUETTE, Fla. (WFLA) – For Mike Shuman, the emotions hit way too close to home. The gut feeling he had was eerily familiar. It was the same one he experienced just over a month ago when he and wife huddled together and hid in a walk-in closet as a twister raged around them.

Mike shook his head Wednesday when a tornado warning went off on his phone. “It’s coming. It’s coming again. It’s like, there’s no way, it can’t happen again,” he said.

PHOTOS: Storms hit Tampa Bay area, Florida’s west coast

He couldn’t believe another storm was on its way – and Duette was in its path. Mike’s heart sank when he realized what was happening. It was the same path a deadly twister took on Jan. 17, on the same road where Mike and his wife live.

It was their neighbors who were killed when a raging storm shredded a mobile home.

Steve and Katie Wilson were home with their grandchildren and their son when the twister ripped their mobile home from its foundation and tossed it across the street. Steve was crushed by debris, while his wife died from a heart attack in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

The four children and their father survived the horrific experience.

Mike will never forget that fateful moment. “The most helpless feeling you ever had in your life. It was, I’m like, ‘What are we going to do?’ I said, ‘Well, Lord protect us.’ What can you do?” he asked.

As he gestures toward his former neighbor’s home, he describes the scene. “It still looks like a war zone. It’s like, you picked it up and you threw it about 100 feet just disintegrated,” Mike said.

This time, Duette was spared. Residents in the area consider it a blessing, although their hearts go out to the family of those who were taken so savagely during the previous twister. Say the word tornado in this community, and people freeze.

But, in Charlotte County Wednesday, people weren’t so lucky.

They survived the storm, shocked by what they saw. Andy Shuman, a realtor, tells News Channel 8 he and his buddies were on their way back from North Port.


“There was, it looked like pure black, and all of a sudden spray looked like it was, and all of a sudden stuff just started falling from the sky,” Andy said. In Charlotte County, high winds ripped chunks off of buildings. Eyewitness got up close and personal with the storm. “You couldn’t see across the road. The cars, the way it was, rain everywhere. You could barely see in front of you, cars pulled over to the side of the road,” Andy said.

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