Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa Bay area hit with wind, rain but avoids tornadoes

The threat of tornadoes and heavy thunderstorms with hail swept through the Tampa Bay area Sunday afternoon through evening, forcing residents indoors to wait out a potential worst-case scenario.

Strong winds and heavy rains caused some minor damage, but as of mid-evening no tornadoes touched down, and the region was spared the type of devastation the weather system brought to other parts of the Southeast on Saturday and Sunday.

"As far as Tampa Bay, it could have been worse," Kate Wentzel, 10Weather WTSP meteorologist, said Sunday evening.

Today, conditions will remain windy and rainy in the morning, forecasters said.

The front will drop the high today into the upper 60s to low 70s, 10Weather WTSP meteorologist Ashley Batey said, adding that "this isn't going to be a big arctic blast where we drop into the 30s or 40s."

The Sunshine Skyway bridge, shut down for much of Sunday evening due to winds averaging 43 to 52 mph, was reopened at about 9:15 p.m.

 

RELATED: At least 18 dead as tornadoes slam Southeast.

 

Tornado warnings were in effect at some point Sunday for Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, Manatee and Polk counties.

The strong winds did cause some problems.

Pasco County authorities reported damage to a handful of roofs Sunday evening in Zephyrhills.

Officials received reports of power outages, downed trees and limbs, and minor street flooding in Pasco, and pea-sized hail was reported in the Bushnell area of Sumter County.

Clearwater firefighters battled a 2-acre brush fire behind homes in the Countryside area off Northside Drive. The fire, spread by the powerful gusts of wind and dry grass, charred some fences but damaged no homes.

And Polk County authorities reported that the roofs of two mobile homes in Lakeland were damaged.

As of 10 p.m. Sunday, Tampa Electric had more than 4,500 customers without power, down from around 6,300 at 8:30 p.m. Duke Energy had nearly 50 outages in Pinellas County at 10 p.m.

Some outdoor Sunday events in the area were called off due to the forecast, including the Clearwater Distance Classic race series and Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival Music Fest in downtown Tampa.

The storm threat was part of a larger system that pushed through the South on Saturday night and Sunday, killing at least 18 people and injuring dozens more.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Comments

Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Associated PressSTARKE — An inmate convicted of raping and killing a college student decades ago screamed and yelled "murderers!" three times, thrashing on a gurney as he was being put to death Thursday. The governor’s office said Eric Scott Branch, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Eight days after mass shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward’s top cop on Thursday revealed a stunning series of failures by the sheriff’s department.A school campus cop heard the gunfire, rushed ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor and the police chief came to Northeast High on Thursday to warn students about the dangers of circulating rumors of school safety threats on social media.While they were there, one of those unfounded rumors popped up on Fac...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Haley Loeun, a top aide to the embattled leader of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards, was fired Thursday from her $130,000-a-year position as business services director.Loeun came under criticism after the Tampa Bay Times reported that employ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

TAMPA — Across Interstate 4 from Ybor City’s nightlife, another part of the historic neighborhood has an odor less nostalgic — and much less pleasant — than cigar smoke and roasting coffee beans.V.M. Ybor, named after the Spaniard who founded the cit...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Donald Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, acc...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

After an emotionally draining day that captured national attention — the massive rally in Tallahassee and a small, tearful gathering of survivors at the White House — CNN’s Wednesday night town hall on the Parkland shooting could have easily been ove...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to the Republican’s affair with a woman in 2015. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the indictment Thursday. She launched an ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Second stripper, same commissioner: Hernando County official’s home site of domestic dispute

Second stripper, same commissioner: Hernando County official’s home site of domestic dispute

SPRING HILL — Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson is in the midst of another personal controversy that is reminiscent of his relationship several years ago with a stripper who used drugs.A couple who rents a room in Nicholson’s home got into ...
Updated: 4 hours ago