TAMPA - More than an hour after the storm passed, Venus Mays was still catching her breath.
"I've never been as scared in my life," Mays said.
The mother of two was home Tuesday afternoon as severe storms surrounded the sky in Sulphur Springs. Mays said she heard the winds building, then somehow knew she had to get her family out of the house.
"I just said run, and I don't know why," Mays said. "I just said run and that's when I started hearing everything."
What Mays heard was branches from a massive backyard tree piercing the roof, sending chunks of it caving in. Within minutes, the first floor of her house was flooded. Next door, another tree crushed the front of her neighbor's home and his car.
Less than an hour after the storm passed, repair crews were already removing the debris.
A team from Good Neighbor Roofing had watched the storm clouds as they passed over them in Ybor City, heading for Mays' neighborhood.
"It was big and brownish in color and it looked fierce," said Jim Fernandez. "It was moving quickly."
Quickly and with the kind of power neighbors in Sulphur Springs said they've only ever seen with a hurricane or tropical storm.
The strong winds toppled trees and power lines in the area, peeling off the roof of one building on Nebraska Avenue.
Cell phone video captured that moment, showing the roof rippling in the air with a portion of it still clinging to the building.
"It was a big boom," said Hector Angus, owner of 1 Apple Grocery. "Things were being thrown around."
Angus' business is one of two inside that building, His small grocery store was flooded by rain as the roof came undone, but not enough to cause major damage.
In his neighborhood, he was one of the lucky ones.
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