Strong storms damage 57 homes in Pasco

Tree on a house at 9834 San Sebasian Way in Port Richey.

NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) — Pasco Fire Rescue crews responded to reports of storm damage after a tornado touchdown in the area Thursday morning. Storms swept through around 6 a.m.

A total of 57 homes were damaged when the EF0 tornado passed through the county. Emergency officials say overall the damage was minor, but it left an impact.

“Tornadoes in Florida are nothing to play with,” said Kevin Guthrie, director of emergency management in Pasco County.

The tornado damaged dozens of homes, mostly in the western part of the county. Eric Hemenway ran for cover as raging winds tore down his street on Drexel Drive.

“As soon as they issued that warning, the power went out. I heard a big boom; the house started shaking,” Hemenway said.

His neighbor Lilian Lemons had the most damage. “Carport, the shed and half the stuff we had is gone,” Lemons said. “Everything was upside down and this little thing here was hanging up on a shelf out here.”

Around the corner on Seabreeze Drive, Victor and Michelle Kumalae must now repair the holes in their roof.

“The top of our lanai, it did like a wave. It picked up and back down, up and back down and at that time, I went into the bathroom, closed the shades and told the wife there was a tornado coming, we gotta stay in the bathroom and I just heard it go off,” Kumalae said.

They said it took only three seconds for the high winds to ravage their pool enclosure. “A little scary. Kind of shocking. Just glad everybody is OK and it isn’t worse than it is,” Michelle Kumalae said.

County utility crews will go around neighborhoods Monday to pick up storm debris. Officials said debris must be left on the curb.

If you need to report storm damage, call county customer service at (727) 847-2411.

Meanwhile, in Clearwater, fire rescue crews have responded to the 3200 block of Brigadoon Drive for damage related to thunderstorms that swept through the area. Multiple trees have fallen there, affecting town homes. Three units have been damaged and the Red Cross is responding to assist those residents.

No injuries have been reported at this time.

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