Storms topple trees, cut commutes across central Florida

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CENTRAL FLORIDA —

Powerful storms ripped across central Florida Friday, knocking trees down and forcing a woman out of an Orlando home.

In Maitland, storms brought some drivers' commutes to a screeching halt.

Dorris Mahoney was in her Maitland home upstairs and just feet away from the strike when she heard a sound that was unmistakable.

"I ran out the back door and could see that the roof was smoking," Mahoney said.

A lightning bolt had torn a huge hole through her roof, set it on fire and forced crews to work into the night to put it out and clean the place up.

On Maitland Boulevard, part of a massive tree came crashing down on Jose Castillo's car as well as the driver next to him.

"I was hoping I could stop in time, but I just skid right into it and (it) just landed right on top of the hood," Castillo said.

The man who was driving an SUV said he didn't even know his SUV had been hit until he first saw the leaves on his windshield, then looked up and saw the tree.

Both men narrowly missed being crushed by inches and made it out unhurt.

"I am lucky that's for sure," Castillo said.

The couple who live in one house say they also feel lucky to be alive and are glad they escaped Mother Nature's fury without a scratch.

 Police had shut down the eastbound lanes of Maitland Boulevard just east of Interstate 4 Friday evening.

Traffic was being diverted off of Maitland Boulevard and onto Sandspur Road.

 

Plan Your Route: WFTV Traffic Section