LADY LAKE, Florida -- Suspected tornadoes rocked central Florida residents out of bed early Friday, killing at least 14 people and ripping long swaths of destruction through neighborhoods, said Lake County spokesman Christopher Patton.

Many residents said they were unaware trouble was coming and didn't hear warning sirens.

The National Weather Service warned about the coming storm, which struck quickly in the middle of the night.

"We have complete devastation of homes, businesses, religious institutions," said Patton. "It was unlike perhaps even the hurricanes of 2004." (Watch aerial views of huge swath of destruction, including smashed homes and downed trees Video)

Earlier, first reports of deaths from the disaster from Lake County officials said at least two people were killed, CNN affiliate Central Florida News 13 reported. The county sheriff's office reported "several" deaths, CNN affiliates said.

The storms also walloped Volusia and Sumter counties, toppling trees and power lines and sending tractor-trailers careening off Interstate 4.

The National Weather Service said "tornado damage likely occurred" in east Central Florida. Meteorologists were headed to the area to make a determination.

But the storm threat continued through the morning, as the NWS issued a tornado warning until 10:15a.m. ET for southern Brevard County in east central Florida, including the cities of Grant and Barefoot Bay. The warning also covers northern Indian River County including Roseland, Fellsmere, and Blue Cypress Lake.

Some of the worst damage was reported in Lady Lake in Lake County. Mobile home parks were hit, including Sunshine Mobile Home Park in Lady Lake and another one near Spencer's Loop, the sheriff's off said.

A distraught young woman said a friend, a 17-year-old girl, was killed in one of the parks. "I'm so sorry. I really am," she said, adding that she used to wait for the bus with her every morning.

Lake County School Superintendent Anna Cowin said she had heard of a 17-year-old student's death and that parents of other students may have been killed as well.

An elementary school, Villages Elementary, was opened as a shelter in the area, she said.

The entire Lady Lake area was without power Friday morning, the sheriff's department said.

The storms toppled trees and power lines and sent tractor-trailer trucks careering off Interstate 4.

The National Weather Service said "tornado damage likely occurred" in east Central Florida.

The Lady Lake Assembly of God Church was "completely demolished," Kevin Lenhart of Lake County Emergency Management told CNN.

"We're still doing search and rescue," he said.

As daybreak arrived authorities were searching for people who may be in need.

The storm moved in very quickly as people were sleeping -- "the worst possible time," said Lenhart.

A sheriff's dispatcher confirmed to The Associated Press that there had been fatalities, adding that the destruction had included "every kind of damage you can think of."

Progress Energy spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs told The Associated Press that about 20,000 customers were without power throughout a large area of the state's mid-section.

In the DeLand area, Florida Power & Light told AP that about 200 customers had no electricity.

Trucks blown off the road

On I-4 at State Road 44 in Volusia County -- on central Florida's east coast -- winds blew four tractor-trailers off the interstate along with a U-Haul truck towing a car.

The Florida State Patrol closed access to that area of the expressway.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Gary Davidson said there was extensive damage in the DeLand area, with people trapped across the city.

"We've had reports where the roofs were blown off and a few reports where people had a tree fall down and it's on the roof or wedged against the front door and they're not able to get out," Davidson said.

He said he hasn't received any reports on fatalities but that police are conducting a damage assessment and expect to report their findings soon.

"We started receiving calls at about 3:58 a.m. and then after that in rapid succession," Davidson said. "A resident in DeLand first reported a tornado touched down, and based on multiple eyewitness accounts that appears to be what occurred."

Powerful winds knocked down trees and power lines.

"We heard the train," said one woman who had the roof torn off her house. "We tried to make it in our walk-in closet. I made it. My husband didn't."

She said he ended up on the floor with a closet door on top of him. Neither of them was seriously hurt, she said.

Television footage from New Smyrna Beach showed homes damaged and destroyed along Nordman Street. Local authorities said there were injuries but no fatalities.

The storm hit residential areas northwest of the airport in New Smyrna Beach, and a police spokeswoman said officials were scrambling to reconnect power in the area and set up a command center.

Heavy rains and thunderstorms swept across nearby Orange County, but spokesman Greg Collins said there were no reports of "tornadic activity" and no injuries or deaths.

Copyright 2007 CNN.