News-Sun photo by KATARA SIMMONS Mike Riddell watches as a clean-up crew removes debris that was once his mobile home. Riddell was inside with his cat and dog when a tornado ripped the roof off of his home.
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published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
Families and friends throughout the southern part of Highlands County are continuing clean-up efforts after Sunday's violent tropical storm weather produced tornadoes in the area.
Affected areas of Lake June, Cloverleaf, Lorida and Venus were tormented by the disaster, leaving some areas without a structure in sight.
Highlands County Road and Bridge began working in the Lake June area early, clearing the roads of debris and securing damaged trees and other debris in the area.
"There's a lot of us out here working. We are Sebring Road and Bridge and over there is Lake Placid Road and Bridge and Avon Park has been here too," said a R&B employee Tuesday.
The four workers described the area near Lake June as "way worse" than the Cloverleaf Road damage.
"We've been out here for two days, cutting trees, clearing things but it's really bad over there. A lot of the houses are gone," said the worker.
Mike Riddell described the tornado as "unbelievable" Tuesday as he carried his belongs from the pile of debris to the street.
Riddell was in his home when the tornado touched down in Lake Placid Sunday.
"I was just watching television. I was watching the weather channel, actually. The meteorologist said that it was over. Then I saw my cat jump up and take off. I walked to the kitchen and I heard it. You could see the wind and the windows shaking. Then all of a sudden the roof came off and rained poured in. Then that wall just came down," said Riddell.
Riddell has been in a tornado previously but described this incident as different as his first experience in Indianapolis.
"I thought 'I'm not worried about a tornado in Florida,' but I'm lucky to be here," Riddell said.
Riddell has received some help from the local Red Cross and a debit card with just under $100 and assistance from a local church. Bob Delaugther, owner of Bob and Family company, has volunteered to clean-up Riddell's damage as well as others in the area.
Progress Energy (by: Cheryl Wolfe - 6/27/2012)
I want to Thank all of the Progress Energy workers who worked in the driving rain Sunday night to restore power to the Cloverleaf Rd. area. I watched from my front door and was amazed at what you accomplished. Thank you again.
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