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December 24, 2002
Lee County-- Many people in Lee County have been through something like this before. A deadly tornado in 1993, the floods of 1994 and 1998.
Tuesday morning, the area got hit again when a possible tornado ripped apart roofs and carports on several homes. Luckily, no one was hurt.
Lee County residents woke up to loud sounds of heavy rains and strong winds pounding their homes. “It sounded like a Locomotive. A locomotive, coming through,” said Lee County resident Tony Sellers.
Inside this home a dad and six-year-old, both hiding from the ferocious storm. “Soon as I realized it was taking the turn for the worst, I grabbed him, went under staircase,” said Lee County resident Mike Layfield. “It hit us pretty hard. The whole house shook.”
The Layfield family escaped without getting hurt, but their home was severely damaged. The attic wall is now missing, insulation scattered like snow, and part of their roof is two doors down.
This family is a target for natural disasters-- this is their third home damaged. “This is the third one, two floods. That's the reason we moved to Leesburg to get out of flood area. Unfortunetly, we were hit with this. Thank the LORD, He certainly protected us today,” Layfield said.
Several doors down, parts of a trampoline wrapped around a tree. “We were upstairs sleeping,” said Lee County resident Charles Burgamy. “Our housekeeper woke us up, lights were out, ran downstairs. Next thing we knew it was gone.”
Strong winds picked up their carport and sent it crashing to the ground. “It just sounded like a freight train going through, said a tearful Housekeeper, Wendy Cook. “I should have known because I've been through it before.”
The Christmas Eve morning’s sounds brought back bad memories of the 1993 deadly tornado in Leesburg. “Three people were killed,” Wendy said. “My brother's best friend. They were all killed, except for the father.”
No body was injured in Tuesday's suspected tornado, but theres a major mess to clean-up. At the Layfield's home, Neighbors, friends and firemen helped move out furniture, Christmas presents and belongings, a day before Christmas. They were afraid of more water damage and the roof falling down.
The Layfield family says they're going through another tough time, but like before, they'll make it through thanks to their family, friends and church members.