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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Heavy winds and a tornado left a swath of damage in northern Broward Wednesday morning.
Residents in Coconut Creek saw the majority of the destruction. Tornado winds ripped through Gwendolyn Currie’s pool and backyard, leaving a big mess of debris.
“That’s my paradise, supposed to be,” Currie joked. Her home was one of several in the neighborhood hit by the storm. Her steel-frame pool enclosure is now a mangled mess. “I’m thinking, what in the world is that noise? And I thought the palm trees or something were hitting the window.”
The patio enclosure had previously stood for 45 years.
“I went to the french doors on the side there. I looked out and couldn’t believe,” said Currie. “I was here by myself. I shook a little.”
Another homeowner, Judy Catania, was outside taking down her pool umbrella when she heard a crash inside the house.
“When I came back into the house, I saw something in my bedroom. Something had crashed into my window and glass was all over my entire bedroom,” Catania recalled.
Several southbound lanes of the Florida Turnpike were closed near the Coconut Creek Parkway after multiple vehicles were flipped over by high winds, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
“We have a tractor on its side. We also have a pickup truck that’s sustained heavy damage. It appears to have rolled over. The good news is we have no serious injuries. We have one person transported,” said BSO Fire Rescue Mike Jachles.
Jachles spoke to a truck driver who’s hood was literally ripped off by the powerful winds. There were unconfirmed reports of a possible tornado touchdown in that area.
“The wind just starting blowing in, pulled the hood completely off the semi,” said David, a truck driver.
— Mike Jachles (@BSO_Mike) January 27, 2016
A driver on the Florida Turnpike, German Serna, took cellphone video shows what the tornado looked like as it rolled across the highway.
“We’re in a tornado right now,” Serna said on the video.
His video captured a car passing on his right as it headed slowly into the wicked weather. The tornado picked the vehicle up and flipped it up in the air. Serna thought he might be next.
“I just braced myself,” he told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “I thought I was gonna get tipped over but muckily my truck was heavy enough to where it didn’t get tipped over.”
Serna told CBS4 News by phone that when the tornado passed he pulled up and tried to help the driver in the car that got flipped up and landed on its’ side.
“She was very panicked,” Serna said. “Tried to calm her down. Let her know she was okay.”
Florida Highway Patrol said in addition to the tractor trailer, there were five other accidents.
“We have some additional showers and storms still affecting the northern part of Broward County. The same area hit by the severe weather is getting some additional rain,” said Robert Molleda of The National Weather Service. “So certainly, we want people to stay indoors, at least through the mid-day hour.”
CBS4’s Gaby Fleischman said at Broward College’s north campus several cars were toppled or sent flying onto either vehicles. Fortunately, no one was inside the cars.
A small transport bus on Coconut Creek Parkway was flipped on its side. The driver suffered minor injuries.
“I was just driving and all of a sudden I was up in the air and I slammed back down. That was it,” said Kevin Richards, the bus driver. “Very scary.”
The college kept students updated on the situation.
This is the BC Alert system. A weather emergency has been reported at North Campus. Take necessary precautions. Seek shelter immediately.
— Broward College (@BrowardCollege) January 27, 2016
BC Alert system.Significant weather advisory for 45-55 mph winds and development of funnel clouds for NE Broward is in effect until 1115AM
— Broward College (@BrowardCollege) January 27, 2016
After the danger had passed, the college issued the following statement.
“At Broward College, the health, safety and welfare of the College community is of utmost importance. This morning, we learned of a severe weather advisory in the area of our North Campus. The established procedures were followed, and a notice was immediately sent out through the College-wide BC Alert system via phone calls, text messages, social media and the Broward College website. The situation is currently being accessed as emergency personnel complete their investigation. Broward College will continue to monitor the advisories and send additional alerts as needed.”
Storm damage including downed trees and structural damage has been reported in Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Coconut Creek, Margate and Wynmoor.
In Wynmoor, high winds severely damaged a roof of a condo building.
Rain rolled across portions of South Florida during the morning hours with the strongest storms on the southwest coast of the Peninsula. A strong breeze out of the south and southeast will lead to a dangerous high risk of rip currents and a small craft advisory.
“We do have additional rain moving in from the Gulf of Mexico, across the peninsula. So while they are moving, we could these showers and thunderstorms moving over the same area. So that could certainly produce a flood threat,” said Molleda.
High’s will be in the mid to upper 70s with plenty of clouds around.
On Wednesday night, we remain unsettled with an even better chance of storms through Thursday.