Lakeland residents still cleaning up from Wednesday's intense, quick-moving storm

At peak, 15,000 customers lost power

LAKELAND, Fla. - As storms pound the bay area again Thursday, many in Lakeland are still trying to cleanup mother nature's mess from a day earlier.

Wednesday's quick-moving storm sporadically knocked down trees -- including a large oak tree that crashed through a vacant mother-in-law suite.

"I was in the room when it started raining and then I heard the crack, and the next thing I heard the boom and we all looked out," said Michael Love, who is thankful the tree did fall the other direction on his house.

He hasn't been able to get inside the uninsured apartment to survey the damage because the steps are now gone, along with the porch and who knows what else.

"We can't even get up there until we get this off the house," he said.

He's not sure how he'll come up with the money to clean-up the mess.

On the other side of town, the storm tore the roof off the barn at the Lakeland Cattleman Auction.

The damage will set owner Dave Tomkow back about $15,000.

"It was heavy, and then when the wind picked up -- I looked out the front office window and the rain was just going sideways," he said. "It got pretty harry up in the front, so I know it was pretty bad back here," he said.

Throughout the day Thursday, his workers tried to salvage everything they could from the mangled roof. They hope to have the new one up by this weekend.

At the peak of the intense storm, more than 15,000 Lakeland Electric customers were without power.

Extra crews worked through the night to get the power back on. Most customers have since had their power restored.

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