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Nineteen dead after tornadoes hit Lake County

RELEASE DATE: February 2, 2007

(Lake County, FL) - Tornadoes that struck with little or no warning early this morning have taken the lives of 19 area residents, according to officials at the Lake County Emergency Operations Center.  Thirteen of the storm related deaths occurred near the Paisley area and the other six were in the vicinity of Lady Lakes.  Both of those areas bore the brunt of the storms, which have damaged more than 1,500 structures and impacted thousands of residents in a 20 square mile area of north Lake County.

“This is one of the worst disasters ever to strike Lake County,” said Emergency Management Director Jerry Smith.  “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people who lost loved ones during this tragedy as well as those who have lost their homes as a result of the storms.”

Some 6,000 residents remain without power this evening.  A dusk to dawn curfew has been put into effect in the Lake Mack and Lady Lake areas with law enforcement patrols in place to protect people and property.

Hundreds of first responders and emergency services personnel continue to work around the clock to restore services and provide assistance to those people affected by the tornadoes.  Shelters have been set-up throughout the county with the main facility located at The Villages Elementary School, located at 695 Rolling Acres Road in Lady Lake.  Thirty-five people are currently utilizing shelter services.

A Citizen’s Information Line has been established for residents with storm related questions.  That number is (352) 343-9732.  A county website with updated information on debris pickup and other resources is available at www.lakegovernment.com.

County officials recommend that communities or individuals with private wells who may have lost power boil their water until determinations can be made as to safety.  They also recommend that residents without power for refrigeration throw away food that has most likely spoiled.

“It’s been a tragic day in Lake County,” said County Commission Chairman Welton Cadwell.  “But we’re going to work together to get it right.”

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