June 23, 2009

Thunderstorms and flooding pummel S. Fla.

Lightning sets Wellington house on fire; toppled tree sends Plantation man to hospital

The National Weather Service in Miami placed South Florida under severe thunderstorm watch until 9 p.m. Along with penny-sized hail, lightning and torrential rain, the storms are expected to bring wind gusts of up to 60 mph, according an NWS adivsory.

In Downtown Fort Lauderdale, the strong winds ripped large panels off the New River Center's roof, hurling debris from as high as the 15th floor on to Southeast Third Avenue. The Sun Sentinel's main newsroom is in that building.

The storm was a sharp contrast to Monday's blazing heat, when areas around South Florida saw the mercury rise to record highs.

Though no injuries were immediately reported during the afternoon tempest, several people were hospitalized in the morning during the storm's first surge.

Just before 9 a.m., a tree fell on a 70-year-old man while he was in a golf cart in the 900 block of Northwest 116th Terrace in Plantation. Firefighters found the man, whose name was not released, unconscious. He was taken to Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale..

"It was like mini-hurricane," said Joel Gordon, Plantation Fire Department spokesman. "It was a bad squall, a tremendous amount of high wind, lightning and heavy rain."

At 8 a.m., lightning struck the roof of a home in the 9200 block of Via Elegante in Wellington, igniting a fire. It was quickly extinguished and a person in the house was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, said Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Capt. Don DeLucia.

At 10:30 a.m., two apartments in a Deerfield Beach complex in the 4000 block of Northwest Ninth Avenue were flooded after a roof drainage system broke.

Residents in one of the units were ordered to move out temporarily, said Deerfield Beach Fire spokesman Gary Fernaays.

For information about lightning safety, go to the National Weather Service website.

Staff Writers Sofia Santana and C. Ron Allen contributed to this report. Ken Kaye can be reached at kkaye@sunsentinel.com or 954-572-2085.

No comments:

Post a Comment