High winds uproot trees, displace families in Valrico

Evan Axelbank reports

- Hurricane Hermine left devastating damage in the eastern portion of Hillsborough County.

When Cassandra Chaney heard Hermine howling, she ran to her window.

"We watched the tree actually fall on our neighbor's trailer," she said. "The only thing that went through my head was that I knew there was a kid in there."

The tree actually destroyed two trailers, leaving families thankful to have everyone alive and accounted for.

"The husband told me he had to make a path to get to his daughter because she was underneath something," she said. "They could have been killed."

The day after the storm rolled through, residents of the Town and Country Trailer Park in Valrico counted six trailers with significant damage. One woman reportedly had a bruised head.

"There is something like 15 trees," said Henry Brandhurst. "We are still working. It is going to take a couple of days to clean it up.

Indeed, trees came down across Eastern Hillsborough County. Margaret Stevens was home with her husband in Plant City when the tree in their front yard crashed down, its roots ripping through the pavement.

If it had fallen in the other direction, things could have been worse. Their power was out nearly a day.

"I came out, looked out the front window and absolutely could not believe what I saw," said Stevens. "We are just so fortunate that nothing happened to the house."

For many, this is a storm that for all its frightening misfortune, will be remembered as leaving the most important thing, people, if not property in tact.

"We are going to try to raise a little money for them and help them out with their needs," said Brandhurst. "They do have children. It is real bad."

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