DeLAND, Fla. – Monday morning’s tornadic storm rattled awake 12-year-old Chris Torres and his family after a large oak tree on their property came crashing down.
“I heard like a big crack and then a big boom,” said Torres as he was outside cleaning up all the branches near his home. “I came outside and the wind was pushing me away. It was strong.”
Emmary Blancas also lives inside the home and felt the tremor.
[RELATED: Tornadoes touch down near Sanford, DeLand, Ocala | PHOTOS, VIDEOS: 3 tornadoes confirmed in Central Florida]
“The tree branches started hitting me in the face and in the neck, and a little bit the tree fell and the house kind of shook,” Blancas said.
Blancas said the family is thankful the tree fell down onto the street, instead of on their house or one of their neighbors’ homes.
“We’re lucky, the kids are lucky,” Blancas said. “All our rooms are right there. We were all sleeping. We would have been in trouble.”
The storm struck as families all over Central Florida are trying to abide by the governor’s stay-at-home order to fight the spread of COVID-19.
But on Monday, some families and public works crews had to be out to assess and clean up the damage the tornado left behind.
DeLand public information officer Chris Graham confirmed the city received 30 calls about power outages, several about downed trees and branches weighing down power lines. Graham said Duke reported about 300 customers were without power after the storm rolled through.
Public works crews used bucket trucks and chainsaws to piece apart the giant laurel oak that toppled over and blocked the entire stretch of West Waltz Avenue near South Adelle Avenue in DeLand.
On the other side of Adelle Avenue, the storm caused a giant old oak tree that had survived countless storms before to split in two.
“It’s been through (hurricanes) Francis, Gene, Charlie, Matthew, Irma, a little bit of Dorian,” said Asia Gibson, who lives nearby. “And then this little blip of a storm, it fell.”
Gibson said she’s surprised the damage wasn’t worse with how loud the storm was raging outside her window.
“My heart was like beating really fast, and I was like, ‘What is going on?’” Gibson said. “I tried to looked outside – I couldn’t even see outside. It was so bad I couldn’t see.”
Once the sun came out, public works crews from the city were out in force, putting up road blocks, clearing the streets of any downed limbs and fixing any power lines affected by the storm.
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