Woman dies after tree falls on Columbia County house

Tree that fell on Northwest Jacksonville home devastates family


LAKE CITY, Fla. – A storm system that caused destruction across the Southeast caused one fatality in Florida.

Pamela Michels, 54, was injured Sunday when a tree fell on her Columbia County home Sunday and died hours later after she was taken to Shands-Gainesville. 

The tree fell about 6 p.m. on Northwest Proctor Lane, north of Lake City, as Michels was sitting in her dining room. Michels' sister, Jessica Cross, told News4Jax that another person in the home was not hurt.

"The sound went off that a tornado was coming, and they went to go out, and the tree fell," Cross said.

It was the 20th death reported after a wall of heavy storms and at least 41 tornadoes tore across the Southeast on Saturday and Sunday. According to the National Weather Service, 30 of those tornadoes were in Georgia, where 15 people died. Seven of those victims died when a tornado flattened a mobile home park in Cook County, fewer than 100 miles north of Lake City.

January tornado outbreaks are rare but not unprecedented, particularly in the South. Data from the Storm Prediction Center shows that, over the last decade, the nation has seen an average of 38 tornadoes in January, ranging from a high of 84 in 2008 to just four in 2014.

Child escapes injury in Jacksonville

A 5-year-old boy escaped injury Sunday when a tree fell on a home in Northwest Jacksonville, dropping rubble onto the child's bed.

The home is on Wabash Boulevard near Old Kings Road.

A woman, her 5-year-old son and 11-month-old child were in a bedroom when a tree crashed through the roof on top of the crib and the bed.

Rubble covered the boy, and his mother had to dig him out, but he wasn't hurt.

Joyce Tracey lives in the home with her husband, her daughter and three grandchildren.

Tracey's husband was taken to a hospital for anxiety after the incident, but he was back with his familyon  Monday.

The home was seriously damaged, and Tracey said she doesn't know how her family will get the home fixed because they don't have insurance, but they are grateful to be alive.

“I just want to tell people, please, when they say there is a storm, don’t take it lightly. People say, 'Oh, it won’t hurt anything,' but you never know,” Tracey said. “We didn’t think anything was going to happen because with the hurricane nothing happened, but this was just a storm and something did happen.”

The power was cut off to the home, but neighbors said they are still worried about another tree a couple of hundred feet away that is leaning on another power line. 

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