A tornado spawned by Tropical Storm Nestor damaged homes and a school in central Florida but the storm spared an area of the Florida Panhandle devastated one year ago by Hurricane Michael, authorities said Saturday. The Polk County Sheriff's Office said several homes were damaged and Kathleen Middle School had a large section of its roof torn off when the tornado hit late Friday near Lakeland, about an hour's drive southwest of Orlando, the AP. Photos posted by the Ledger showed a home with a destroyed roof, downed trees, a large recreational vehicle thrown onto its side and vehicles buried under debris. About 10,000 homes were without power. In other details:
- "Thankfully, we have not had any reported serious injuries," Sheriff Grady Judd said in a Saturday statement. "However, there are many people dealing with damage to their homes and property this morning, some of it severe."
- In Mexico Beach, where a powerful October 2018 storm nearly wiped out the Panhandle town and left thousands homeless, the mayor said Saturday that Nestor brought some needed rain to a portion of the state suffering from drought, but no damage.
- The National Hurricane Center said high winds and dangerous storm surge were likely along parts of the northern Gulf Coast. The system could dump from 2 to 4 inches of rain from the central Gulf Coast to the eastern Carolinas and as much as 6 inches in spots, forecasters said.
- Seawater pushed inland by the storm could rise as much as 5 feet as storm surge in Florida's Big Bend region, much of which is less-developed than the rest of the state's coast.
- Forecasters said Nestor was centered early Saturday about 80 miles south-southwest of Panama City, Florida. It had top sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving to the northeast at 17 mph.
- Video shows Nestor lifting up a tractor-trailer on the I-4 near Lakeland on Friday and turning it over onto an SUV, per WTSP. Occupants in both vehicles escaped without major injuries.
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