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Storms slam Central Florida; theme parks open, but crowds light

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Published: February 2, 2007 at 11:16 AM

At least fourteen people were killed in Central Florida this morning, as tornadoes ripped through the area. All the major theme parks opened as scheduled this morning, but initial reports have attendance lighter than normal, even for this typically slow time of year.

Live coverage is at The Orlando Sentinel.

I'm in Southern California, where the weather is mild and calm today. (My mom has a theory that however the weather is in Orlando on a given today, it is the opposite in L.A. That surely holds today.) For our Orlando-area readers, how are you hanging in there today? Hope all's well. Tell us your stories in the comments....

Readers' Opinions

From Mike K on February 2, 2007 at 11:52 AM
I live right off Universal Blvd, about 15 minutes from Disney and 10 from Universal, and the weather today is good for the parks. It is overcast and has been slightly raining all day. Today was forecasted to be a crummy day, and there are supposed to be more storms tonight.
From Frank Rosa on February 2, 2007 at 1:09 PM
I live by UCF (University of Central Florida) but I work near the parks which is about 10 minutes from Universal and I would say about 15 from Disney. Basically all of metro Orlando including the attractions, as far as I know, did not sustain any damage. All of the reports that you see on the news are coming from places either west, north, or northeast of what would be considered the center of Orlando. Very, very unfortunate situation as this all happened over night while people were sleeping. A friend of mine who lives near one of the areas said that it was a very tough night to get through. Luckily all my friends are ok and yes the parks seem to not have any damage. And yes in weather like this not many people venture out to the parks.
From Eric Malone on February 2, 2007 at 1:16 PM
I work for the St. Pete Times, so that means I work when just about everyone is asleep. I don't live near Orlando (I live closer to Tampa), but the weather was still just as crappy last night. No signs of tornadoes thankfully, but it was still a crappy night.
From Adrienne McDonald on February 2, 2007 at 2:32 PM
I'm glad to hear that y'all are doing ok. I remember back in 2004 at SFOG a bad storm came up, had to shelter in the motel across the street as I couldn't drive in that bad storm. Had to lose money on my already reserved motel rm at the airport but at least I made it thru ok. It was scary when I was in the gift shop at SFOG & the power went out around 5pm, went outside & looked around, the sky was VERY dark & ominous, it was very freaky deeky!
From Erik Yates on February 2, 2007 at 3:26 PM
Of course none of the attractions were damaged, disney has that big forcefield thing....
Seriously, I heard something in the neighborhood of 20,000 people without power....thats a hurricane type number. I feel real bad for those effected by it, but on the other hand glad it didnt make down to my neck of the woods.
From Gareth H on February 2, 2007 at 7:52 PM
I live pretty much at the back of USF & IOA (1 min driving).

Weather here last night was very wet and very windy. I left work last night at 2am and the winds had picked up. But us in Orange County were lucky as Lake County was worst hit. 19 now confirmed dead...

Luckily it didn't hit this area as a big convention rolled into town this morning. The annual builders convention on I-Drive, which apparently brings around (And upto) 100,000 people from late Thursday night until Monday PM...

From Jason Moore on February 5, 2007 at 6:31 AM
While I'm sure it played a small part, I don't think Friday's storms were as much responsible for light attendance at the parks as the continued crummy weather was. I had been planning to drive over to Orlando on Saturday, but with gloomy grey skies and off and on sprinkles I decided it wasn't worth the drive.

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