Microburst caused damage in Zellwood, National Weather Service says

Severe weather rips through Central Florida


ZELLWOOD, Fla. – A microburst caused damage in Zellwood on Tuesday as strong storms ripped through Central Florida, the National Weather Service confirmed.

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The NWS said Wednesday that a microburst -- not a tornado -- damaged homes in Zellwood.

A microburst is sinking air in a thunderstorm that can cause comparable, if not worse, damage than tornadoes.

Officials said a woman was injured when she slipped and fell while trying to return to her house, which was destroyed in the storm.  The microburst also ripped the roof off one other home in Zellwood.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued throughout Central Florida on Tuesday, sparking small brush fires and causing damage to homes.

Orange County Fire Rescue said wind damage was reported to the roof of at least one home, but no injuries have been reported.

Fire Rescue said it was also investigating a report of lightning striking a house on Spinnaker Cove Lane and a tree igniting after being struck by lightning on Fullers Cross Road.

Volusia County fire officials were investigating reports of three separate brush fires caused by lightning strikes.

The fires did not endanger any structures, officials said, and no evacuations were ordered.

Another brush fire, also believed to have been sparked by lightning, was reported on Black Lake Road in Osteen.

A 2.5-acre brush fire was also reported in Sanford. Seminole County fire officials say the fire ignited near East Osceola Road and Ritchie Road. It's not clear if lightning sparked it, however.

More severe weather is possible in Central Florida on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 26 Florida Panhandle and north Florida counties that have been hard-hit by torrential rain.

Scott issued the proclamation early Wednesday and mobilized the Florida National Guard to help.

Heavy rains started falling over the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday, drenching parts of Pensacola with between 15 and 20 inches of rain.

The Florida Highway Patrol says one person died in Pensacola late Tuesday. Officials in Escambia County say many were stranded in their cars and people climbed to the attics of their homes waiting to be rescued.

Parts of Interstate 10 north of Pensacola were also closed on Wednesday.

The National Guard is sending high-wheeled vehicles to Pensacola on Wednesday to assist with rescues.

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