NWS confirms 2 EF-1 tornadoes touched down in Charlotte County on Monday

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. (WFLA) – The National Weather Service confirmed two EF-1 tornadoes tore through Charlotte County Monday night. Powerful winds between 90 and 100 miles an hour left a swath of destruction in its path.

Officials said one waterspout came on shore in Manasota Key, tearing through a neighborhood. Another storm touched down in Palm Shores, just east of Punta Gorda.

The National Weather Service said the two storms were on the ground for less than two-tenths of a mile and were less than 100 yards wide.

Along this stretch of condos and winter homes in Manasota Key, many vacations were rudely interrupted. These visitors and residents didn’t plan to see toppled trees or roofs ripped right off.

“It was pretty hectic. It was alright until the boat flew off the trailer and slammed against the house. That got me off the couch,” said Manasota Key resident Frank Fettes.

Robert Grenier could clearly hear when the tornado struck.

“Suddenly the sound of the storm changed, and it was like a ‘woom, woom,’” Grenier described.

His home was okay, others were not so lucky.

The roof from a condo building on the beach was completely torn off. Inside, roofing and insulation is littered across the floor.

“That’s the couch. That’s where he was sitting,” said Zona Vanmeter, pointing at a couch completely hidden beneath a pile of debris.

She and her husband were watching TV when she felt the urge to leave.

“All of a sudden I heard the wind get really loud and I looked up and there was a crack in the ceiling and I said, ‘Let’s get out of here, the roof is gonna go!’” Vanmeter recalled.

She escaped in time. The roof completely collapsed. At 9:30 p.m., the time the storm struck, her husband is normally in bed. But, that night he happened to choose to watch TV instead.

“I thank God. A lot of times my husband will go to bed early and he didn’t last night,” Vanmeter said.

Charlotte County officials say there were no injuries, despite the fact that more than 30 buildings were damaged.

The public is advised to stay clear of storm-damaged areas for their safety. Property owners are reminded to confirm any contractors hired to repair damage are licensed. Hiring an unlicensed contractor is illegal, unsafe and potentially costly to property owners.


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