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Cleanup Underway After Tornado Rips Through Broward

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COCONUT CREEK (CBSMiami) -- Another dreary, rainy day and crews in Coconut Creek are cleaning up the mess a tornado left behind after sweeping through Broward County Wednesday.

"It was pretty intense," said Cindy Paz, who was affected by the damaging winds. "All the trees were blowing really, really hard. It leaves you pretty shaken for a little while."

Neighborhoods in Coconut Creek are littered with debris. The wicked weather splintered trees, wrecked cars and damaged buildings.

"We are used to hurricanes. You have time to plan for a hurricane and this yard's been through a few hurricanes and never had this kind of damage from a hurricane," said Paz.

Frightening cellphone video even captured the tornado whirling across the Florida turnpike, picking up a truck like a toy and dropping it a few lanes over.

"I just braced myself. I thought I was gonna get tipped over but luckily my truck was heavy enough and I didn't get tipped over," said German Serena, the driver.

The tornado's power managed to overturn several trucks. Violent gusts toppled a small bus and sent one car flying from the southbound side of the turnpike to the northbound lanes.

Minutes earlier, the tornado touched down on Broward College's north campus.

"All of a sudden alarms going off, messages going to phones that there was a tornado warning," said student Tiffany Permenter. "We saw trees being ripped apart and thrown. And so we opened classroom doors because students were still outside and we motioned them to get inside."

Winds up to 100 mph tossed cars through the parking lot, even stacking some on top of others.

A day later in the Wynmoor retirement community, homes are being boarded up and workers have started repairs on ripped up roofs.

"Appeared as though (one roof) was actually peeled back from the damage and we did notice a lot of doors to the residences were blown in," said Sgt. Kathryn Marklane.

One homeowner was bringing in her outdoor furniture when she heard a loud noise inside her home.

"Something had crashed through my window and glass was over my entire bedroom," said Judy Katanya. "It's a mess."

The National Weather Service surveyed the damage and says severe weather season in south Florida is just getting started.

"This is the type of stuff we can expect over the next few months and is typical of an El Niño year," said Pablo Santos of the National Weather Service.

Due to the risk of more severe weather, all outdoor activities at Broward County Public Schools have been cancelled.


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