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Storms cause scattered damage throughout area; more on the way

Road crews survey the damage Tuesday morning after overnight storms knocked signs down on the Davis Islands bridge, causing traffic snarls through the morning rush hour and beyond.

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

Road crews survey the damage Tuesday morning after overnight storms knocked signs down on the Davis Islands bridge, causing traffic snarls through the morning rush hour and beyond.

More thunderstorms were expected to hit Tampa Bay again Tuesday after a round of heavy rain and gusty winds Monday night caused minor damage and flooding in parts of the region.

Mangled carports, damaged power lines and fallen tree limbs were reported in several areas.

While the thunderstorms may have seemed severe, they were typical of summer in Florida, said National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Oglesby.

Most of those storms produced top winds around 40-50 mph, he said. The weather service posts warnings when winds are expected to exceed 58 mph; no warnings were posted Monday night.

The top recorded gust was 49 mph at Clearwater-St. Petersburg International Airport at 9:12 p.m.

"The kind of damage we're hearing about, mostly to carports or aluminum fixtures and the like, is fairly typical," said Oglesby. "The wind gets underneath and lifts or twists."

In Clearwater, an awning from a house near S Evergreen Avenue and Belleair Road collapsed and a carport in the same neighborhood was damaged as winds as strong as 50 mph swept through the area, National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Fleming said.

In Tampa, a section of a tent outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum sustained minor damage. It was taken down for repairs.

An overhead sign on the Davis Islands bridge was knocked down, restricting access to one lane and snarling traffic Tuesday morning as workers repaired the damage. Some power lines and transformers also were damaged, Tampa Fire Rescue said.

Fallen tree branches littered the streets of some areas in South Tampa on Tuesday morning. At the St. John's Episcopal Parish Day School on Orleans Avenue, communications director Lee Lowry said, there was tree debris on the school grounds, but nothing major.

"This building's been here for a really long time," she said. "It's sustained worse."

There were no reports of tornadoes.

The stormy weather was caused in part by a trough of low pressure over the eastern U.S. that is allowing potentially severe storms to dip as far south as Florida.

Tampa Fire Rescue did not have any reports of major damage in the city, but spokeswoman Debra Sue Warshefski said she was concerned about Tuesday's stormy forecast.

"We're looking at an 80 percent chance of rain today,'' said Diane Kacmarik, Bay News 9 meteorologist. "They are out in the gulf now but with the heating of the day, we are going to see more storms."

Citrus and Hernando counties were expected to see the heaviest rains, which could reach up to two inches, Bay News 9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik said.

A rip current advisory was issued for Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, warning beachgoers to use caution when entering the water.

In Pasco, Cypress Creek at Worthington Gardens was on the brink of minor flooding Tuesday morning.

Staff photographer Skip O'Rourke contributed to this report.

Storms cause scattered damage throughout area; more on the way 08/21/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 2:45pm]
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