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Debris cleanup begins following North Lakeland tornado

Published on Dec 17, 2020

Bartow, Fla. (Dec. 17, 2020) – Polk County crews conducted damage assessment and debris cleanup Thursday following a now-confirmed EF1 tornado in North Lakeland Wednesday night.

In all, one home was destroyed just off Lake Gibson and about a dozen damaged along two streets off Daughtery Road. No injuries have been reported.

“We are thankful no one was injured in this storm event and that it was contained to a small area,” Polk County Emergency Management Director Paul Womble said. “But this is devastating for the people who live here and we are working to help all of the residents affected by this storm.”

Polk’s Roads and Drainage crews worked to remove vegetative debris left by the storm and a tree trimming contractor had been hired by the county to remove dangerous limbs that had been left hanging by the tornado and a threat to those living in the area. And the county’s Building Division members also conducted damage assessments of the area.

Womble also met with members of the National Weather Service who toured the site to determine damage and storm strength, which was an EF1 with estimated peak winds of about 110 mph that began in Plant City.

“The rotation from the tornado was elevated at the tree top level or higher for most of the path, a preliminary National Weather Service report said. The tornado’s path was about 13 miles long and about 250 yards wide. It also destroyed two barns in Plant City.