On Feb. 2, 2007, tornadoes killed 21 people in central Florida.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Disaster crews with dogs went from one pile of debris to another in a search for bodies after powerful storms, including at least one tornado, destroyed hundreds of homes across central Florida, killing at least 19 people.
It was the second-deadliest combination of thunderstorms and tornados in Florida's history, cutting a 40-mile (65-kilometre) swathe of destruction across four counties just before dawn on Friday.
The storms terrorised residents of one of the nation's biggest retirement communities, and left trees and fields littered with clothes, furniture and splintered lumber.
Florida's emergency management chief said it could take several days to determine the exact number of dead.
Downed powerlines meant thousands of homes were without electricity.
DeLand resident Mandy Gee told AP Television the tornado "sounded like a train was coming through."
She said her home was damaged, but her family escaped injury.
Another local resident, Steffany Williams, described how she and her fiance got in their bathtub for protection. Sheltering in bathtubs can help shield people from falling debris.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist has asked US President George W. Bush to declare a major disaster for Florida as a result of the storms.
Crist has declared a state of emergency in four counties - Lake, Volusia, Sumter and Seminole, all north of Orlando.
One of the worst hit areas was Lady Lake.
YouTube download / AP video / Henry Frederick, Headline Surfer