MYAKKA -- The sound of a cell phone text alert told Herb Loynd to gather his family and take cover.
Just before 3 a.m. Thursday, a tornado touched down near Myakka City, doing property damage but causing no injuries, authorities are reporting.
"My phone woke us up and told us to take cover," Loynd said.
He said the family huddled in the hallway of his house on stilts a few dozen yards from State Road 70.
"I opened the window, and you could feel the rumbling," he said. "Stuff went everywhere."
Loynd said everything underneath his home is spread over his property. "It took our washing machine and flipped it on its side. It picked up our refrigerator and slammed it against a wall."
Loynd said his children, ages 7. 9 and 13, were scared.
"We've never been through anything like that. It was amazing. You feel so helpless."
Loynd was at Miller's General Store, where he saw store manager Md. Z. Abedin. "Hey, I know where your trampoline is," Loynd told him.
Adebin said his family was OK but the store sustained roof damage over the cooler where wet bottles of water and beer were stacked on the floor.
"It was scary," Abedin said. "I called the police at 3:14 a.m.," he said.
"I woke up to lots of noise and metal."
Abedin said the whole thing just lasted 3-4 minutes.
Outside, on State Road 70, an inmate road crew was clearing twisted aluminum and other debris from the roadway.
Across the street, at the home of Rod Green, the metal roof of his home was peeled back. He rode out the tornado inside the house.
"My intention was to go outside and lay in a ditch," he said.
He tried to open his back door when the wind snatched the door from his hand. He said he couldnt see past his porch.
"It was horrific. It felt like the whole house was shaking. ... Then all of a sudden, it (the storm) was gone."
"You think you're prepared But when you're in it, you're not prepared," Green said.
Mark Sellers of Peace River Electric Cooperative said 273 customers lost power due to downed power lines but all service was restored quickly. "All customers had power restored by 9:30 a.m.," Sellers said.