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Severe weather hits North Florida, misses Tampa Bay area

Downpours, strong winds and four possible tornados slammed north Florida Thursday afternoon causing flooding and felling trees from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, the National Weather Service reported.

In the Tampa Bay area, Hills­borough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties saw rain, while people in Hudson felt wind gusts of up to 46 miles an hour. No damage was reported.

Farther north, a tornado touched down in Starke, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Brian McClure. There were reports of about dozen homes damaged in the town, but no immediate reports of injuries.

The National Weather Service office in Jacksonville said there were at least four possible tornado touchdowns in North Florida.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office said it had reports of trees down, at least one person injured, and heavy rain and lightning across the region.

The fast-moving storm system dropped a record 4.66 inches of rain in Tallahassee, McClure said. The entire Big Bend received 3 to 6 inches of rain.

Some Tallahassee roads were flooded — trapping residents in their homes for hours or forcing them to swim and wade to safety.

Wakulla County had two reported cases of water damage and quarter-sized hail was seen countywide.

The National Weather Service said it had heard reports of golf ball-sized hail in Crawfordville.

McClure said the Tampa Bay area could see showers into the morning, but no severe weather was expected.

Information from the Associated Press, Tallahassee Democrat and the Florida Times-Union supplemented this report.

Severe weather hits North Florida, misses Tampa Bay area 01/21/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 21, 2010 10:29pm]
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