• Highlands County woman killed during tornado ID'd


    HIGHLANDS COUNTY, FL - Authorities have identified a 32-year-old woman who died as a tornado swept over  her home in Venus, Highlands County.

    Heather Town suffered fatal injuries on Sunday after being thrown from her home along Montana Trail, Sheriff’s Office officials said.

    Officials said Town’s 3-year-old daughter was also injured. She is in stable condition at a Tampa-area hospital.

    In one neighborhood, at least a half-dozen homes were damaged or destroyed. 

    “I went and got my wife and dog and said it’s coming,” said resident Sam West.  “The wind started blowing real hard.

    The tornado was so powerful that it left gaping holes in one roof, flipped boats in a nearby lake and knocked down so many trees that crews were immediately called in to pick up the mess.

    “It all happened really fast, in a matter of 30 seconds.  We just saw a bunch of wind pick up, we were shoved into the bathroom,” said resident Jennifer Jernigan.

    All over the area there was significant property damage and trees everywhere.

    “Scared half to death.  Scared half to death,” said Jernigan.  “It was pretty traumatic.”

    The tornado was a result of storms created by Tropical Storm Debby, weather officials said. Debby continues to drench Florida with heavy rain and floods.

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