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Heavy winds closed bridges and left homes picked apart in Port Charlotte

Heavy winds in Port Charlotte
Posted at 5:14 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 18:41:47-05

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla — On Tuesday, families living on Hayworth Road had to face the heavy winds that swept through Port Charlotte.

Fox 4 was there as families had to clean up broken branches, scattered debris, and other items that were swept from neighbors' yards.

Deborah Turner said some of the items she is finding don't even belong to her.

"The wind just came and just came harder and harder every time and threw all my neighbor’s trash into my yard," said Turner.

Turner told Fox 4 she tried to save a lot of her belongings but the winds were too strong.

“The whole antenna just broke in half and I was trying to unhook my umbrella because it was closed but it got flung open. So there was a cord I needed to cut but I was out there by myself and I’m yelling help and none of my neighbors heard me of course,” said Turner.

She says the winds started picking up near her house around 8 a.m. with the Fox 4 weather team tracking winds reaching 77 miles per hour near her home in Port Charlotte.

Just 3 miles away, troubles continued but for drivers hoping to cross over the US 41 bridge where they were met by deputies from the Charlotte County Sheriffs Office.

“I didn’t expect it to be closed,” said Barbara Petersen, a driver stuck on the Northside of the US 41 bridge.

Chris Hall, a spokesperson for the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office said they had to close the bridge in both directions because the wind was blowing debris from a construction site nearby.

Leaving drivers like Petersen trapped on the wrong side of the bridge.

“So I have been driving around like for an hour, hour and a half and all the traffic lights are out,” said Petersen.

A temporary inconvenience compared to the hours of clean-up left for homeowners on Hayworth Road.

It’s an outcome Deborah Turner says could have been worse.

“This is just material stuff but I had put so much work into this to make it look nice but nothing in comparison to losing a life,” said Turner.

Turner told Fox 4 that she has lived in Southwest Florida for the past four or five years and says there was more damage done during Tuesday's wind even than during the time when Hurricane Irma swept through her neighborhood.