Charlotte County begins cleaning up after tornadoes strike

11 homes destroyed, 25 damaged, no injuries

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Cleanup is underway one day after two tornadoes touched down in Charlotte County. In a matter of moments, numerous homes were badly damaged. For many of the residents of that area, it’s a case of deja vu.

Those same neighborhoods were struck by Hurricane Charley in 2004, so this storm brought back bad memories.

RELATED: Storm damage ravages Florida’s west coast

Celia Privat’s backyard is a mess. Wednesday’s tornado tore apart her pool cage, ripped apart her roof and uprooted her trees.

“All the plants are in the pool. Oh, look at the papaya tree (in the pool),” Privat said.

For her, this is all too familiar “This is the second time around,” she said.

“This is what it is … This is what it is,” Privat said.

Privat was especially disappointed that her Virgin Mary statue is broken. She says it’s 50 years old and has withstood numerous storms. Privat felt comfort that the statue provided protection over her

 

“For Charley, everything was gone, and she was standing,” Privat remarked.

But the statue toppled over and broke after Wednesday’s tornado. “It is (heartbreaking) because to me she was taking care of my house,” Privat said.

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Charlotte County emergency officials say the two tornadoes destroyed 11 homes and damaged 25 others. Across the area garage doors caved in and debris scattered everywhere.

RELATED: Reliving the nightmare: Radar showed tornado hitting Duette again

Since Wednesday power crews have been out in force, working to bring everyone back online. And contractors were quickly trying to make these homes livable again.

A few blocks from Privat, Al Santoro is surveying his own damage. “Look at the lanai. It’s gone,” Santoro exclaimed.

He came back home to discover his backyard transformed into a colossal mess and littered with debris from his neighbors.

It’s going to be cleaned up, but it will take some time for life to return to normal. “I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m just at my wit’s end,” Santoro said.

These residents are trying to make the most of this storm and rebuild. There were no reported injuries during the storm.

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