EUSTIS, Fla. - Severe weather, including a possible tornado, damaged about 50 homes, shearing the entire second story off one home, authorities said Friday.

Radar indicated a tornado spun off from a storm system that crossed through central Florida before spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, touching down late Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service. The system was being monitored Friday, with Gulf Coast residents and the oil industry making early preparations.

One person suffered a minor cut, but no other injuries were reported in the area about 30 miles northwest of Orlando, Lake County sheriff's Sgt. John Herrell said.

Herrell said 20 houses were uninhabitable and about 30 other homes have broken windows, debris from fallen tree branches or roof damage. He said the second story was shorn off one house, but the residents escaped unharmed.

Television news footage showed a boat overturned in a yard, a toppled mobile home and downed trees. About 300 people were without electricity, but power was expected to be restored by sundown, officials said.

Karen Seidule said the storm blew away the chimney and shattered nearly every window in the home she shares with her husband and son. The family was on the porch when the storm passed through.

"We were joking that if we hear that choo-choo train coming, we'll know that it's bad," Seidule's son, Brett MacLaughlin, told the Orlando Sentinel, referring to the typical "freight train" sound that tornadoes create.

The late-night storm caused much less damage than the deadly tornadoes that hit the same area in the early morning hours of Feb. 2, killing 21 people and destroying hundreds of homes in Lake, Sumter and Volusia counties.

The storms were part of a low pressure system centered off Florida's Gulf Coast that could strengthen and bring rain and tropical storm-force wind along parts of the coast as early as Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.

In Louisiana, the governor declared a state of emergency late Thursday, putting the National Guard on alert and school buses, ambulances and evacuation shelter workers on standby.

Oil industry workers have left five production platforms in the gulf, and three drilling rigs have been evacuated, according to the federal Minerals Management Service. In Mississippi, officials in coastal Hancock County handed out sandbags.