Storm Clean Up

Tampa, FL -

In many parts of the state this morning, residents are waking to the sound of wood chippers, power saws and roofing hammers. Floridians are still cleaning up the damage left behind by the Christmas day tornadoes.

Several tornadoes swept across the state Monday as a low pressure system which originated in the Pacific moved in from the Gulf.

Late yesterday, Gov. Bush declared a state of emergency in Pasco, Columbia, Lake and Volusia counties, which were hardest hit by the storm.

In Pasco County, the sheriff's office reports about 100 homes were damaged or destroyed most of them at the Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club, near I-75 and SR 52. Officials say at least 15 to 20 homes are uninhabitable. Damage is estimated at more than 700 thousand dollars.

Only a couple of minor injuries were reported.

Elsewhere, a tornado in the Daytona Beach area ripped the roofs from three apartment buildings and in Volusia County more than 200 mobile homes were damaged near DeLand. Tornadoes also reportedly touched down in Leesburg and near Lake City in North Florida.

These were not the normal Florida summertime tornadoes which usually touch down briefly during thunderstorm and pack winds of no more than 75 mph. At least two of of Monday's twisters were categorized as F2 tornadoes with winds of at least 120 mph. The National Weather Service in Ruskin says Monday's storms were the result of an approaching cold front blowing in from the west and colliding with unseasonably warm December temperatures.

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