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Thunderstorms roll through Tampa Bay ahead of cold front

Lightning, thunder and rain threatened Tampa Bay early Tuesday, causing trouble for motorists and scattered power outages before retreating east.

The storms rolled in about 5 a.m. and stuck around for about three hours, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Mike Clay.

Shortly after 6 a.m., the roof of a Pasco County home was partly blown off. County fire-rescue crews were checking the area, near Stone and Ledgestone roads, for more damage. No injuries were reported.

Thousands of Tampa Electric and Progress Energy customers lost power Tuesday morning. In Brandon, 1,400 people were affected by an outage from 5:30 to 6:45 a.m., said TECO spokesman Rick Morera. An outage near Cheval affecting 890 customers at 7:30 a.m. was to be repaired by 9:30 a.m., he said.

About 2,500 Progress Energy customers lost power in Pinellas and Pasco counties, said spokeswoman Suzanne Grant. A lightning strike was deemed responsible for about 1,000 customers losing power at 6 a.m. near Indian Rocks Road and Belleair Bluffs.

The rainy weather also lit up the Florida Highway Patrol's response call log, with about a dozen accidents reported in the bay area by 7 a.m.

The highways were hampered by gusts of up to 40 mph in addition to heavy rain, Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez said.

The wrecks caused backups on westbound I-4 at Thonotosassa Road, where two left lanes were shut down, and on northbound I-275 near I-375, where two lanes were blocked near the exit ramp.

None of the accidents caused any major injuries, according to the FHP.

At 6:30 a.m., the worst of the storm was over I-75 and I-4. It was mostly dry on the coast, she said.

It could rain off and on for the rest of Tuesday, Clay said. The day should warm up only to the low 60s, with winds of 15 to 30 mph most of the day.

Tuesday's rain precedes another cold front, probably lasting the rest of the week before letting up Sunday, he said.

"We'll probably spend another day in the 50s all day tomorrow," he said.

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Thunderstorms roll through Tampa Bay ahead of cold front 03/02/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 11:14am]
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