Thunderstorms Rip North Central Florida; Funnel Cloud Reported
Waves of strong storms rolled through North Central Florida Friday night, knocking over trees and power lines, and cutting off power to thousands of customers in the region. Crews worked to restore power after two sets of storms hit the area.
The National Weather Service issued several watches and warnings throughout the night.
Wind gusts of up to 57 miles per hour were reported as well. Witnesses reported a funnel cloud near Ft. White shortly after 8pm.
County emergency managers in the region reported downed trees and power lines. At least six homes in Gainesville, Suwannee County, and Columbia County were damaged by fallen trees, and two people were trapped by one in their mobile home, but were reported to be unhurt.
Heavy rains flooded culverts, ditches and roads. Drivers also had to contend with broken tree branches and traffic signals that had been knocked out. Numerous car crashes were reported throughout the night by the Florida Highway Patrol, but early indications were that there were no fatalities.
Hail as large as an inch in diameter was reported in Melrose, Ft. White, Gainesville, and other parts of the region, with hail the size of a dime seen near Gainesville Regional Airport.
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