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Seven tornadoes confirmed in Florida, experts say

Seven tornadoes, one in Pass-a-Grille and another causing a death in Highlands County, have been confirmed across Florida, according to the National Weather Service.

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The tornadoes, ranging from 75 to 120 mph, spiraled through Citrus, Hardee, Highlands, Polk and Pinellas counties Sunday night as Tropical Storm Debby slammed the region with storms and high-speed winds.

Experts will be looking to other areas that may have also been hit by a tornado. Weather service emergency response meteorologist Michael Gittinger said some damage in South Tampa may be related to a tornado.

"We're kind of expecting there may be some other ones," Gittinger said. "There is some more digging that we're going to have to do. For now, we've got seven."

Among the areas affected by tornadoes Sunday was Pass-a-Grille, which was hit by an EF 1 with estimated winds between 80 and 85 mph. The tornado, estimated to be about 50 yards wide, touched land for about 3 miles at 8:21 p.m.

At about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, another tornado, this one an EF 2 with winds up to 120 mph and a path width of 150 yards, killed a woman in Venus and destroyed several trailers.

Of the seven, it was the largest tornado, Gittinger said.

Tornado watches were issued on Sunday and Monday. A watch has not been issued Tuesday, but if the current scattered showers begin to develop into "more organized banding," that may change.

"It's definitely not out of the woods for that," he said.

Seven tornadoes confirmed in Florida, experts say 06/26/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 3:38pm]
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