200 Riverside Dr., Everglades City, FL
Strong storms, including a possible tornado, ripped through the fishing community of Everglades City overnight Tuesday and the town's only school was closed Wednesday because of storm damage. School officials announced that damage was being repaired and that classes will be held Thursday.
While unsettled weather arrived overnight across Southwest Florida, Everglades City was the hardest hit during Tuesday night's storm, said Jim von Rinteln, a coordinator at Collier County Emergency Services.
Von Rinteln said his department was notified of a water spout or tornadic activity in Everglades City around 10 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after a tornado warning was issued. It was the only area in the county to experience damage, von Rinteln said.
The most substantial damage was at the school, he said, where three classrooms were damaged. An emergency management coordinator was in Everglades City Tuesday checking into the damage.
Jerry and Pat Fingeroff were sitting upstairs in their 302 West Broadway home reading when they heard the noise and their Everglades City house began to shake.
"I thought the windows were going to go," Jerry Fingeroff said this morning as he surveyed the storm damage. "I thought we ought to do something."
The Fingeroffs found a portion of a tree on their roof this morning.
"It hit one, two, three," he said. "You don't get any warning."
Within minutes, the power went off. Shortly, deputies with the Collier Sheriff's Office drove by to ask if they were OK.
"That was nice," Pat Fingeroff said.
City Councilman Parker Oglesby was looking out his window when the storm hit near the Rod and Gun Club about 9:50 p.m. Tuesday.
"I looked out the window and saw the trees being torn up near the Rod and Gun Club," he said. "It apparently followed the river up to the school."
Oglesby, his wife, Rudy, and daughter, Savannah, were out looking at the damage from their golf cart this morning. He was going to check on houses he has been working on.
Jasper Evans, 103 Allen Ave., said he and his wife, Sue, were watching television when the tornado hit.
"We were watching the North Carolina-Virginia ballgame when we heard a big boom and the house shook," Evans said. "We went running into the hallway. It was bad, scary."
This morning before another band of rain blew through, a neighbor was helping cut up another neighbor's palm tree, which fell across the Evans' front lawn.