State of Central Florida
Destruction, deaths and looming dangers after tornadoes ripped through four Central Florida counties Friday morning. Search and recovery missions now underway after the Governor declares State of Emergency.
Killer tornadoes ripped through four Central Florida counties in the very early hours of Friday morning. The path of destruction leveled hundreds of homes. Emergency officials confirm 19 people were killed, all in Lake County.
Emergency responders say 13 people were killed in Paisley, six others were killed in Lady Lake.
Three of those killed are said to be students. The Lake County Emergency Operations Center says the storms claimed the lives of a Umatilla High School freshman, a 17-year-old Leesburg student and a Spring Creek Elementary School student.
The Umatilla studentís parents were also killed. One of his triplet brothers was taken to the hospital for injuries. A fourth brother also survived.
Governor Charlie Crist declared a State of Emergency in four Central Florida counties: Lake, Volusia, Seminole and Sumter counties. Crist toured the areas destroyed by the tornadoes late Friday morning and Friday afternoon.
The tornadoes and storms damaged or destroyed well over 1,000 homes in four counties. Damage in Volusia County alone is estimated at $80 million.
Declaration of local emergency: Volusia County Chair Frank Bruno signed a local declaration of emergency. The declaration has been sent to the governor for review and forwarded to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Friends and Family hotline: Citizens looking for information on loved ones in the affected areas should call the American Red Cross at (386) 226-1400.
City of DeLand information hotline: DeLand residents looking for information on Friday’s storms should call (386) 626-7159.
Shelters: Two shelters have been opened: Babe James Center, 201 N. Myrtle Ave., New Smyrna Beach. ChisholmCommunity Center, 520 S. Clara Florida Ave., DeLand.
Volusia County Schools: Deltona Lakes Elementary School will remain closed Monday. The rest of the schools within the Volusia County School District will open Monday.
Preliminary damage estimates:
The Volusia County Property Appraiser’s Office has 16 teams conducting preliminary damage estimates in the DeLand and New Smyrna Beach areas.
According to preliminary damage reports in the New Smyrna Beach area, eleven homes were destroyed, 25 suffered major damage and 71 had minor damage.
Due to the extent of the damage, preliminary information is not yet available for the DeLand area. However, initial damage estimates of $4 million are expected to increase.
The Beresford Lady river boat is reported completely underwater. The boat docks at the Sunrise Marina on the St. Johns River near DeLand.
Power outages: Progress Energy is reporting 6,900 of its customers remaining without power countywide. Nearly 1,380 customers have had their power restored.
New Smyrna Beach Utilities Commission has restored 450 of the initial 800 customers out of power.
New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach Citizen Information Lines have been opened. Residents needing information about the New Smyrna Beach area should call (386) 424-2113 or (386) 424-2114.
New Smyrna Beach residents needing housing assistance may meet with a Red Cross representative at the Babe James Center, 201 North Myrtle Avenue, New Smyrna Beach.
Residents who want to re-enter the affected areas of Islesboro and Turnbull Estates must present identification to law enforcement officers that shows their local address. Residents without identification, such as a driver’s license or utility bill, will not be allowed into the area.
According to preliminary damage reports, 20 structures were destroyed, 21 structures have major damage and 73 structures have minor damage.
Port Orange city officials are reporting damage in the Cypress Head subdivision. Nearly a dozen homes in the 6400 block of Cypress Springs Parkway, including Renaissance Drive, are damaged. The homes damaged are in the immediate area of the number 14 hole on the golf course and includes damaged or missing pool screen enclosures, broken windows, missing shingles, uprooted trees, and damaged gutters.
Florida Hospital DeLand Storm Response
Florida Hospital DeLand received 34 patients from early morning storms Friday. Most patients were in good condition, three patients were serious condition and two were transferred to other hospitals. Injuries ranged from minor lacerations to non life-threatening internal injuries.
The hospital did not suffer any damage and was open to receive patients throughout the day. All elective surgeries were rescheduled. Activity in the Emergency department and throughout the hospital has returned to normal.
“The response from our physicians and staff was incredible,” said President and CEO Daryl Toll. “I was very impressed with the number of team members who were able to respond and help our patients and their family members, despite the fact that many of our team members were impacted directly by the storms.”
Halifax Medical Center
The hospital treated four patients from the storms. Two patients were listed in critical condition, two in serious condition. One patient was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center with critical burns. ORMC is the areaís only Level 1 Trauma Center.
Villages Regional Hospital
Forty-two patients went to the emergency room after the storms. Eighteen were treated and released. Most of them had lacerations and broken limbs. One person was moved to Leesburg Emergency room to undergo neurosurgery. One person died at Villages Regional Hospital.
Progress Energy had about 20,000 customers without power in Volusia, Lake and Marion counties. Their crews are working where it is safe to do so to restore power.
The Villages of Sumter County
The Villages Public Safety Department along with Marion County Fire-Rescue, Lake Sumter EMS, Sumter County Sheriff’s Department and many other government and emergency agencies have set-up a command post at the Coconut Cove Recreation Center, 1398 Stillwater Trail, to organize emergency relief efforts in The Villages of Sumter County following severe storms first reported by the National Weather Service just before 3 a.m.
Initial damage reports indicate between 300 and 500 homes in The Villages of Sumter County, including The Villages of Mallory Square, The Villages of Sabal Chase, The Villages of Poinciana and The Villages of Carolina to name a few, have sustained moderate to significant damage.
Meanwhile, North Central Florida’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 8 Team, one of nine teams in Florida, composed of firefighters from Marion County Fire-Rescue, Ocala Fire Rescue, Gainesville Fire Rescue and Alachua County Fire Rescue have activated to The Villages of Sumter County to conduct an extensive search and rescue operation.
Shelters: The Villages High School on C.R. 466 and Belvedere Blvd. and Wildwood Community Center on C.R. 132, one-mile south of 466A.
Citizensí Information Line: For the latest information, citizens should call: 352-751-7110.