Tropicana tornado report day #3: “It was like the house exploded!”


By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor   January 18, Tuesday, 2022 morning.

Watch this News-Press video and hear Tropicana resident John Finelli describe how it felt when this vicious tornado blew his home apart, with him and his parents inside.

Click on the link below.:

There is considerable activity in the park with a variety of groups being active:  Red Cross, FPL, Murex, repairs by home owners, scrap metal salvagers, roofers and other contractors.

Families and friends have arrived to assist, and residents are trying to help each other.  Check with the Trop. Facebook page for such offers.

This News Press photo shows an interior of a damaged Iona area trailer home.

Al Joseph warns us to beware of “scammers” who offer to inspect your home for free.

Michelle Matthews told Facebook that a call to FEMA might bring some cash:   800 621 3362   Open  7-11.

Lee County will be arriving to remove large debris. A contractor will be coming to give estimates for home demolitions.

A guard is at the front gate.  Water and electric are back on. Mail service has not yet been resumed.

As John Finelli  of Tropicana described his experience during the “explosion” you can hear the trauma expressed in his voice as he tried to remain calm during his interview where he related feeling close to death.   His parents are still in the hospital, and we have heard no other reports of injuries so far.

As he said, “There’s a lot to process.”

This is from the News-Press:

“According to the National Weather Service, the tornado tore through three mobile home communities in Iona: Tropicana, Point Breeze and Century 21.  

“The National Weather Service said the tornado was a category EF2 with winds up to 118 mph.

“It’s the strongest tornado to hit Southwest Florida since 2016.

“Storms started hitting Lee County early Sunday morning. The tornado touched down at 7:35 a.m., and National Weather Service officials said it ended at 7:40 a.m.”

And by the way, you can see the importance of links in on-line communication, so it is good that the Tropicana Facebook page is permitting links at this time.

Also, from the News Press:   

Storms pummeled Southwest Florida on Sunday morning with at least three reports of tornados touching down and more than 60 Lee County homes unlivable, 27 of those destroyed.

“Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass confirmed at least four injuries from the storms, while Iona-McGregor Fire District officials reporting there were others in the area of south Fort Myers, which was hit particularly hard. Officials did say there were no deaths.

“Of the remaining homes rendered unlivable in Lee County, 24 had major damage and 14 had minor damage. In south Fort Myers, residents started boarding up blown-out windows and repairing what damage they could almost immediately.

“By mid-morning, residents all over Southwest Florida were taking shelter and heeding multiple tornado warnings stretching from Charlotte county south into Collier.”

On January 17, had 1,600 hits.  Most of that is from Internet searches.  On January 16 we had 3,600 hits.


NOTE:  TODAY, JAN 18:    Murex made an impressive formal entrance into the situation with a leadership document–taking charge of the situation.  They did not send it to us,  but you can read it if you can get into the Tropicana Facebook site.   They don’t seem to be concerned that some do not belong to Facebook or even have access to a computer.   Anyhow,  the situation seems to be in good hands.   If we get  access to information which is new or special, we will share.  P.