TAVARES, Fla. - Severe thunderstorms tore through central Florida early Friday, damaging homes, causing power outages and killing at least one person, authorities said.

A dispatcher at the Lake County Sheriff's Office confirmed there were fatalities but did not say how many. The woman, who would not give her name, said damage included ''every kind of damage you can think of.''

Mike Turner, a technician with the National Weather Service in Melbourne said it appeared the fatality occurred in the Lady Lake area, northeast of Orlando. No other details were available.

''Everybody is so busy that we can't get a hold of anybody.'' Turner said. ''We'll know more as the sun comes up and the weather is starting to calm down a bit.''

About 20,000 customers were without power across a wide swath of central Florida, Progress Energy spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs said.

Florida Power & Light reported about 200 customers without power in the DeLand area.

''We're activating the state EOC and mobilizing damage assessment teams to move into that area,'' said Mike Stone, spokesman for the state's Department of Emergency Management.