Freaky Friday As Severe Weather Pounded South Florida
MIAMI (CBS4) – It was a short storm but a series of thunderstorms and wind gusts that exceeded 40 miles per hour caused damage in southern Broward County.
Crews in Hollywood responded to as many as 20 calls for help after the strong winds ripped out utility lines, tore out gates at railroad crossings and uprooted large trees, leaving some of them lying by or on top of homes and apartment buildings.
According to FPL, at the peak of the storm around 3 p.m., about 4,000 customers in Broward County and 2,000 customers in Miami-Dade County were without power.
Hollywood accountant Orlando Serrano released some stunning video to CBS4 that was captured on his cell phone camera just before 2 p.m.
While using his phone, Serrano was nearly struck by lightning.
Serrano was inside his office at 4330 Sheridan Street when he stepped out on to the 2nd floor balcony.
“I just saw what looked like hail in the window and the wind was just going,” said Serrano. He told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “The wind was moving sideways.”
“Out of nowhere that lightning came down and I just jumped back,” said Serrano. “My chest went out and I jumped as you can see,” he said. The cell phone camera captures Serrano’s sudden movement back inside the office.
“It hit close,” said Serrano. “I felt the lightning for about a half hour. My chest went, umph, like literally my chest felt the pressure. But I feel fine. I’m going to be ok.”
The fierce winds knocked down gates at railroad crossings at Taft. St. and 21st Avenue and at Sheridan Street and Dixie Highway in Hollywood.
Traffic lights were knocked out for awhile at intersections including Sheridan Street and U.S. One. At Taft Street and 25th Avenue, the winds ripped up a huge Banyan tree and left it lying on top of home.
On Southwest 13th Street in Dania Beach, a large tree was uprooted by Gerthe Petit-Dor’s home. “I’m very scared, very scared,” she told D’Oench. “I don’t know what happened. This is very bad. This is a very bad storm.”
Nearby on Southwest 13th Street, the winds knocked down a large wooden fence, ripped out utility cables and toppled a huge tree that covered a small apartment building.
D’Oench spoke with two neighbors at the building.
Ben Leroy said, “I was sort of like Wilma or whatever. It was windy as hell. It was just rain and wind blowing everything.”
Ortheline Ullysse said, “It rained like crazy. The tree collapsed and the wires fell with it. There was thunder. It was raining hard. We couldn’t close the doors.”
There were no reports of injuries.
The storm moved quickly and did not linger. That would have caused more damage.
Within hours of the storm passing, the sound of chain saws could be heard in the neighborhoods where the storm struck, as crews cut away at fallen trees in order to remove them.