Strong storm flips plane, downs trees, knocks out power in central Florida

Updated:

Loading

CENTRAL FLORIDA - National Weather Service crews believe straight-line winds from powerful thunderstorms are to blame for storm damage that ravaged Orlando and the central Florida region on Sunday.

The NWS is comparing notes and surveying Lake and Brevard counties.

Early indications are that the storm did not produce a tornado, rather significant straight-line winds that were powerful enough to knock over century-old cypress trees.

"That's what we're seeing here -- the canopy of those taller trees are reaching into those stronger winds," said Scott Spratt of the NWS.

Spratt spent Monday looking for specific patterns to determine what type of storm hit central Florida and he said he's not seeing any indication that a tornado touched down.

"All we're seeing is strong winds blowing from west to east," said Spratt.

The damage pattern coincides with what the NWS team in Brevard County is seeing.

"We clocked the winds at 86 mph in some parts of Orange County and Brevard County, so a very high-intensity wind," said Spratt.

The NWS still has some areas in Orange County to look at, and the agency will review radar from Sunday before making a final determination.

But although it was only a strong storm with heavy winds, dozens of local neighborhoods spent Monday cleaning up the damage.

The storms toppled trees onto homes and cars, and brought down power lines, creating thousands of power outages across the area.

At Michael Beaumont's home near the intersection of Shine and Pinloch avenues, tree limbs sliced through three bedrooms, including one where Beaumont's 2-year-old son slept in a crib.

"The power went out, (we) heard some wind, and then as soon as the power went out, the tree went down," said Beaumont said.

No one was hurt.

A short distance away, the winds took a tree down into a family's swimming pool.

"We just heard a big loud burst and the next thing you know, we heard the noise of trees coming down," said resident Julio Lima.

Other homes were damaged in the Carriage Court East Mobile Home Park off Goldenrod Road.

One woman said a window on her home was blown out.

"Before the storm even started, the wind was shaking the house. It sounded like stuff was hitting my house," said Leslie Velazquez.

Traffic lights at most intersections were in working order on Monday morning after power outages caused problems for drivers Sunday night.

At one point, 100 intersections were without power.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office told Channel 9 deputies were not working any traffic details Monday morning.

Authorities said drivers who approach an intersection without a working light should treat it like a four-way stop.

The rapidly moving storms also forced officials at the TICO Airshow in Titusville to move several performers up in their schedule. The show ended just as the storms moved in.

The strong winds overturned portable toilets, brought tents down and sent chairs flying.

A pilot landed at the Arthur Dunn Airpark in Titusville just as the wind and rain picked up. His single-engine plane was flipped over as he taxied to a hangar.

One man at the airport said they couldn't see the plane land because the rain was so heavy.

"After the rain let up a little bit we saw that when he was taxiing, the wind had turned him over," said Brian Erler.

The pilot wasn't injured.