LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) — To make some extra money, Jacky Rodriguez purchases the contents of storage units on auction and sells the items for $1 each at the Sunshine Flea Market in Lake Wales.
“Everything is wet. It’s destroyed. This is all my hard work right here,” she said.
Strong winds blew the tarp off from over her table, which exposed her clothing, DVDs and other items to heavy rain and hail Wednesday night.
“The movies, all that stuff that I got there. Everything is wet. Nobody’s going to want to buy it like that now,” she said.
The property owner Allen Tedder tells News Channel 8 the south side was hit hardest by Wednesday’s strong storm.
Tedder said it took six weeks for the market to recover from 2004’s three hurricanes that hit eastern Polk County.
This time, he expects it to be reopened by the first or second weekend in May.
According to Polk County Emergency Management Director Paul Womble, the National Weather Service estimates wind speeds reached 40 miles per hour, along with heavy rain and hail.
“There was some hail and lots of rain, lots and lots of rain that came down last night. Twice we were without power,” said John Alriss, who said there was hail as big as his thumb.
He sells items from his “Historic Model Ships” collection at the flea market.
A metal canopy frame landed on his trailer.
“A lot of stuff got damaged. A lot of stuff is breakable. So all the boats that are in there that are under the tent are shot, probably, what I found so far,” he said. “It hurt but we’ll get through it. God willing, we’ll get through it.”
The canopy flew from Marietta Vernal’s husband’s area, where they sell antiques to help pay bills during retirement.
“Everything in there is destroyed, nothing left. Nothing,” said Vernal. “God is gonna help. We’ll be rebuilding again, start from nothing. Try to save something and see what happens after that.”
Womble, the county’s emergency management director, reminds people to have their emergency alert notifications on their phones turned on.
As Florida heads into severe weather season, it is important to be alerted to destructive storms.