Apparent tornado hits Florida town
(CNN) -- An apparent tornado swept through northwest Palm Bay, Florida, on Sunday, damaging more than a dozen homes and causing at least one minor injury, authorities said.
"Some of the homeowners aren't even home, and may not know," said Doreen Wolff, communications supervisor for the Palm Bay Police Department, about 75 miles southeast of Orlando, on the coast.
The storm touched down at 3:50 p.m. and, though the National Weather Service had not confirmed that it was a tornado, "quite a few residents called in to say they're fairly sure," she said.
"Due to the damage, it's pretty obvious it wasn't just wind."
Yvonne Martinez, the police department's public information officer, said 14 homes were badly damaged.
"The roofs are completely off," she said.
Police Chief Bill Berger said 10 homes were damaged so badly that residents would not be able to return to them Sunday night. Several other homes sustained structural damage, he said.
The city's police, fire and public works departments were on the scene to assess the damage, Palm Bay Mayor John Maziotti said. Police were stationed in the neighborhood overnight to deter looters, he said.
"We're cleaning up the mess as best we can," Maziotti said.
A woman was injured when she was hit by flying debris, while she was standing in her yard. She was taken to a hospital, but her injuries were not life-threatening, Martinez said.
Residents are used to upheaval, she said. "This was an area that was hit by (Hurricanes) Charlie, Frances and Jean."
Several hundred homes in a square-mile residential area were without power, and what appeared to be a sewer break was pouring effluent into the Indian River, she said.
The neighborhood, which has no sirens, was under a severe weather watch most of the day.
"It has been raining the previous night all the way into today," Berger said. "Around 4 o'clock, we started noticing the winds really beginning to intensify."