PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- After Wednesday's tornado damaged 20 to 30 homes in Deep Creek, Port Charlotte, the work is just getting started.
"Right now it's all about cleaning up and getting people's lives back in order. Theres a lot of contractors working here, a lot of emergency management folks who are still doing some assessment," said Brian Gleason, a spokesperson for Charlotte County.
Strong storm winds left fences mangled, street sings tattered, and trees uprooted. Although residents might not be sleeping in their own beds for now, they had the comfort of knowing where to hide when the storm hit.
Many living in mobile homes, were unable to take cover. "The only thing we thought of was a car. Get in it and go some place," said Larry Roberts, who lives in Port Charlotte Village.
For those who enjoy walking, biking and riding in the mobile home park of Port Charlotte Village, one luxury the park's manager says they don't have is shelter. "We've been told that the hurricane shelters are not open for tornadoes. Our hall is not shelter ready, so that was the consensus, we were all definitely afraid," said Park Manager, Cheri Frey.
There are 435 homes in the park. Each one has at least two to three people living inside. That leaves hundreds of residents and winter vacationers without a place to hide when the storm comes thundering in.
I asked Gleason what mobile home residents should do to protect themselves if tornadoes were to come their way. The safest place to be in a tornado is the interior of your home. Don't go near windows and doors, don't go out in the yard and see if you can see the tornado, shelter in place get to an interior room and ride it out."
Neighbors tell me they know the basics. "Stay away from the windows or go in the closet," said one resident. But they want Governor Rick Scott to keep them in mind as he surveys the storms damage in Port Charlotte. "Find us some money to help us build shelters for our residents and for our community," said Frey.