Winds topple trees, down power lines in St. Petersburg

Published April 15 2018
Updated April 15 2018

ST. PETERSBURG ó A squall blew through the Childs Park neighborhood Sunday afternoon, felling two large trees onto houses, as winds and rain brought down some power lines across the region.

Shortly after 3 p.m., a large tree in the front yard of a house on the 4300 block of 14th Avenue S snapped at its base. The tree landed mostly to the west of the home, but part of its trunk smashed through the roof and a wall.

A next-door neighbor, Tammie Jenkins, said the residents were home at the time but got out safely and drove away shortly afterward.

Jenkins, 46, had seen a National Weather Service mobile alert for a tornado warning, which was in effect in every Tampa Bay county on Sunday, and started to hear the wind rushing about 3 p.m.

"We just heard all this, crackle, pop and boom," Jenkins said. She saw that a small tree fell on her property, but the size didnít match the noise.

"I knew this couldnít have been it," Jenkins said.

Less than 1,000 feet away, on the other side of the Childs Park Pool, another tree snapped, falling between two houses on the 4300 block of 11th Avenue S.

There, William Keaton, 55, walked outside to find it had fallen on his neighborís roof as well as on Keatonís 2006 Audi. He said he heard a loud "boom" and smelled smoke as the tree brought down power lines.

No one was injured as a result of the wind or falling trees, St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Lt. Steve Lawrence said.

He said the trees that toppled appeared to have decay, and crews were responding to downed power lines throughout the city.

Thunderstorms and wind impacted much of the Tampa Bay region throughout the day.

On Sunday morning, National Weather Service forecasters predicted that a powerful squall line could cause wind gusts up to 60 mph. A tornado watch was initially given for Hernando County and areas to the north, then later expanded to include Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

Shortly before 3 p.m., weather officials issued a tornado warning for Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties. About that time, a peak wind gust of 59 mph was measured at Egmont Key.

Contact Langston Taylor at (727) 893-8659 or [email protected] Follow @langstonitaylor.