Customers and employees of 7-Eleven on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard near Hercules Avenue saw the sky turn black and ran for cover.
But even the store couldn't keep the storm away from them.
Powerful winds ripped off the entire roof, an aluminum canopy that covered the gasoline pumps fell and pieces of two rooftop air conditioners were found two blocks away.
"We didn't hear a thing, but it got as black as night and all of a sudden it poured down rain," manager Judy Sitter said. "Then we saw the window bowing and we ran into the back and hit the floor."
Employees spent the rest of the day putting tarps on merchandise and trying to salvage what they could in the store. No one was injured.
Monday's storm was particularly bad for the business in the 2000 block of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.
Across the street from 7-Eleven, a huge chunk of a metal awning at a strip mall fell into the parking lot. Crews took the rest of the awning down Monday after the storm shook it loose.
Cathy Adams, a saleswoman at Chantilly Cakes, said the storm blew the door open. When she got up to lock it, the awning came crashing down.
Three stores down, a piece of the roof caved in at Mr. Formal, and the wind blew away the store's rooftop air conditioner.
"We're in Florida," manager Linda Carbone said. "It's bound to happen."