Gov. Scott visits tornado damage in Punta Gorda

- Cleanup is full force in Charlotte County after dozens of homes were damaged by Wednesday's tornado.

"Tornado warnings happen all the time. You think, 'they are not going to happen to me.' Until it does." said Gerald Otten, who lives on Padre Lane.

The home Otten and his wife own likely suffered $100,000 of damage.

"I saw all these trees going," he said. "My wife was here with the dog when it happened. She hit the floor."

Otten's home is one of 55 affected by the storms in Charlotte County, where emergency responders say there may be $1.8 million in damage.

Thursday night, Governor Rick Scott came to witness the damage and talk to residents.

"I know the city is going to do their part, the county is going to do their part, all the first responders are going to do their part to help people get back on their feet," Gov. Scott said. 

Getting federal aid may be a long shot, given the damage won't meet Federal thresholds. The governor said there may be some help available through state programs.

"The first thing you have to do is assess the damage," the governor said. "Across the state, we always have great charities, we have the Red Cross and Salvation Army that show up, always to be helpful."

Florida residents have seen their share of tornadoes recently. Just a few weeks ago, two grandparents were killed in Manatee County.

Thankfully, no life was lost Wednesday in Punta Gorda, but lives were still turned upside down.

Trash crews were taking away people's belongings, now reduced to rubble. Yet, some said the initial pain was wearing off as they realizef they still have what really matters.

Insurance will pay for most of it, and many won't be able to stay in or near their homes for weeks, but Otten said he has learned a lesson that we can all take something from.

"It could happen to you," he said. "You hear a tornado warning, pay attention. It may not, chances are it won't, hit you, but take precautions."

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