A Florida toddler was found alive after she and her mother were thrown at least 200 feet when a tornado his the Venus area yesterday. Tropical Storm Debby spawned the tornado which prompted Heather Town, 32, to hold her toddler daughter as tightly as she could and seek cover. Town sadly did not survive the tornado, but even in death she protected her child. The Florida mother’s arms were still clutched tightly around little AnneMarie when neighbors found them in a wooded area, Fox News Tampa Bay reports.
Rescue witness Kim Bass told Fox News that the mother was “literally holding her baby, her little girl,” when the pair was found in a very densely wooded area. AnneMarie was having difficulty breathing possibly due to cracked ribs and had barbed wire wrapped around part of her little body, but she is expected to survive the horrific ordeal. AnneMarie’s grandfather Elmer Town told local news outlets that she has a broken pelvis and broken ribs. He also stated that his daughter’s final act “shows how much she loved her children.” Heather Town has two other children.Town’s mobile home was totally destroyed by the the Florida tornado.
According to the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, “several” tornadoes moved through the region southeast of Tampa, causing damage to “multiple” homes. Tropical Storm Debby caused power outages to thousands of homes, drenching Florida’s Gulf Coast with heavy rains and flooding. Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency yesterday as 10 to 20 inches of rain fell on the Sunshine State, USA Today notes. Tropical Storm Debby boasted winds up to 45 mph.