Strong tornado tears through Southwest Florida

Tornado hits Cape Coral

A terrifying twister ripped through Cape Coral this weekend.

"The scariest night of my life, ever," said Jennifer LeValley, who rode the 130+ MPH winds inside her home. "The alerts went off on the phones but it was already on top of us."

The tornado struck just after 7:00 p.m. Saturday night. It had an estimated peak wind of 132 mph and a 3.4 mile long path, the National Weather Service said. About 178 structures were damaged: one home was destroyed, 14 had major damage and 163 suffered minor damage, the National Weather Service said. 

Roofs were ripped off, trees toppled and cars crushed. One pickup truck was sucked into a garage, lifted through the roof and tossed into the backyard of a home.

It was on the ground for just a few minutes.

"No, it doesn't last very long but it's very long when you're going through it," LeValley said.

RELATED STORY: 100+ mph tornado reported in Cape Coral

Many residents compared the damage to Hurricane Charley in 2004; but this tornado caught nearly everyone by surprise.

"We don't have a tornado season. We just got out of hurricane season so we think we are in the clear," LeValley said.

El Niño winters commonly produce strong tornadoes like the one that touched down in SW Coral Gables.

RELATED STORY: Stuck in your car during a tornado? Do this

Governor Rick Scott toured the damaged area and spoke with several residents who were affected.

"You feel sorry for the people," Scott said. "Fortunately nobody was killed. We are blessed."

No serious injuries or deaths were reported.

For more information about tornado safety, click HERE.


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