Suspected south Florida tornado damages homes

MIAMI Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:19am EDT

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MIAMI (Reuters) - A suspected tornado damaged at least two dozen homes in parts of Florida's Broward County late on Tuesday in the latest onslaught of stormy weather that has battered the Florida peninsula in the last few days.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported, but residents in the cities of Plantation and Sunrise said powerful swirling winds from the possible tornado ripped off roofs, felled trees and hurled furniture, lumber and debris into the air.

"We heard something, it sounded like howling at first," Plantation resident Mike Flusberg told local WSVN Channel 7 news, in comments broadcast on Wednesday.

"It came and some kind of debris hit our garage first. Basically, a two by four went through our door here," he said.

Jim Dixon, Division Chief of Sunrise City Fire Rescue, told Reuters the suspected tornado left a trail of destruction.

"We have about 25 homes impacted, six of them severely, catastrophically," he said.

"We had no fatalities, just two minor injuries, but many of the people are pretty shocked," Dixon added.

National Weather Service experts were on the scene to evaluate whether a tornado had in fact touched down, spawned by a phalanx of powerful thunderstorms that swept across southern Florida on Tuesday.

In Monroe County, which includes the popular tourist area of the Florida Keys, schools were closed on Wednesday as local emergency management officials warned of flooding and heavy rains.

(Reporting by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Greg McCune)

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