Officials: Tornado damages homes, cars in southwest Florida

Posted at 9:19 PM, Dec 21, 2021

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- A tornado smashed pool cages and toppled trees onto cars as it tore through southwest Florida on Tuesday, authorities said.

The storm moved through the area early Tuesday morning, the News-Press reported.

"We were able to get our storm survey completed and we did find a short-lived tornado," said Austen Flannery, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin. "We are estimating the winds to be 95 miles per hour and the tornado was on the ground just over a mile and about two minutes on the ground."

The initial damage estimate was around $500,000, Flannery said. No deaths were reported.

Florida Power & Light reported thousands of power outages on its website, with the majority of those outages stretching from downtown Fort Myers to Bonita Springs and the North Naples area.

Lee County Electric Cooperative said more than 5,000 customers were without power at one point.