TAMPA — Severe thunderstorms brought gusty winds, power outages and a possible tornado in eastern Hillsborough County on Wednesday afternoon.
People at a business in the 4400 block of Adamo Drive reported a twister damaged their building just before 4:30 p.m., Tampa Fire Rescue reported.
A wall inside the office suite at 4430 Adamo Drive collapsed but no one was injured, Tampa police reported. Police worked with rescuers to evacuate the building.
A lane of the westbound Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway closed Wednesday afternoon after temporary lighting equipment was blown down, the Department of Transportation reported.
"Strong thunderstorms always bring the possibility of a tornado," said Tom Dougherty, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.
He said the agency won't know for at least an hour if it was actually a tornado that caused the damage.
Charles Fielder, who works at Fastenal Co. on Adamo Drive, said the storm knocked out his company's electricity, downed tree limbs and blew out a sign at a nearby McDonald's.
"It was a huge gust of wind that came out of nowhere and blew our front door open," he said. "We couldn't see the road that's 20 feet from our front door. The wind was pushing the rain sideways. It looked like a small tornado to me."
Tampa police said they are conducting traffic control in the area due to rush-hour traffic and out-of-order traffic lights.
Tampa Electric reported 20 power outage areas through the county just before 5 p.m., most concentrated in east Tampa. Restoration could come as late as 8:45 p.m. for some customers, the company estimates.
Power lines and two power poles are down at Adamo Drive and N 50th Street, said Rick Morera, a spokesman for Tampa Electric. Crews are out trying to make the necessary repairs.
"From what the crews have been relaying back it seems there could have been some sort of small tornado in the area," Morera said.