Local News

Tornado Blows Through Downtown Miami

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MIAMI (AP) — A tornado steamed past Miami'shigh-risecondominiums in the middle of the day Monday, smashing windows andsending terrified city-dwellers in the path of the funnel cloudscrambling for cover.

No serious injuries were reported.

``I could have been killed,'' said Luis Jaramillo, who had aclose call with a 4-by-6 piece of wood. ``I guess it wasn't my timeto go.''

The storm, which touched down shortly before 2 p.m., uprootedtrees, hurled branches and other debris and shattered the glassfacades of several structures, including a new three-story buildingdowntown.

In Little Havana, the roof of a three-story building collapsedon a woman living on the top floor. Her condition was notimmediately known.

Numerous minor injuries were reported.

The tornado touched down on the MacArthur Causeway to the southand brought busy midday traffic to a halt.

``We thought it was going to hit us,'' said Joseph McCrea, atoll collector at the Venetian Causeway, which leads to MiamiBeach.

McCrea watched the storm rip trees out of the ground and setoffsmall explosions as it tore down power lines.

Anna Varela, who lives on Belle Isle, the island closest toMiami Beach on the Venetian Causeway, first saw the funnel cloud ontelevision. ``And then it came through like a whirlpool,'' shesaid.

The storm touched down along Miami's Coral Way and went eastfive or six miles toward the Miami Arena ``until it got smaller andsuddenly it was gone out over the bay,'' said police spokesmanDelrish Moss.

The city's biggest problem was expected to be accidents causedby lost traffic signs.

By DAVID ROYSE,Associated Press WriterCopyright ©1997 AssociatedPress. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,rewritten, or distributed.

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