A line of severe thunderstorms attached to a cold front moved through the central portion of Florida Sunday, resulting in widespread wind damage. In Orange County, officials told motorists to drive with extreme caution as there were multiple reports of downed power lines and non-functioning traffic signals. The winds ahead of the line of thunderstorms were gusting at around 40 miles per hour. Some locations in the Sunshine State reported wind gusts in excess of 80 miles per hour. This was the case in the Orlando area Sunday night as wind gusts of 86 miles per hour were recorded at the Orlando International Airport. Over 100 intersections in the Orlando area were without power and working traffic lights Sunday as work crews scrambled to repair downed power lines.
Storm activity in the eastern portion of the country last week triggered a variety of damaging weather stretching from the Southeast to the Northeast, causing over $100 million in insured losses in the state of Mississippi alone. The weather caused baseball-sized hail to fall, strong winds to gust up to 95 miles per hour and at least 480 reports of tornadoes in the Southeast. There was also more than two feet of snow that fell in some portions of the Northeast which put spring on hold for millions of Americans.
Georgia had some strong thunderstorm activity over the weekend. In downtown Atlanta, several businesses sustained damage from the result of trees and limbs crashing into their facades. Gusting winds not only knocked down limbs and entire trees but it also tore down powerlines and badly damaged some homes. The wind even tore doors off the hinges on some Atlanta-area homes, it was that strong.
The storm damage was so severe in Lake City, Florida that the scene there was surreal. Many homes in that community sustained severe damage from fallen branches and trees. A local car dealership had a lot of cleaning up to do Monday as several vehicles were completely destroyed as a result of large tree branches crashing onto them. In total, at least 300 tree branches fell in Columbia county, home to Lake City, displacing at least eight families from their homes.
Now is the time of the year that homeowners should look to their roofs. Missing shingles and lifted shingles which are missing their glue seals should be repaired quickly. If strong wind blows just one shingle off a roof, it can make a whole group of shingles blow off. If the missing shingles are not discovered in time, water can easily make its way into attics causing all types of problems ranging from structural damage to potentially dangerous mold infestations.