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Thunderstorms, strong winds rip through Tampa Bay area as thousands lose power

In Clearwater, a tree blew down in the 1100 block of Norwood Avenue as severe thunderstorms came through the Tampa Bay area Sunday afternoon. [Photo courtesy of Clearwater Police Department]
Published May 5

Severe thunderstorms and raging winds passed through the Tampa Bay area Sunday afternoon, causing thousands to lose power.

The worst of the power outages happened in Hillsborough County. An early afternoon update from a Tampa Electric Co. outage map showed that as many as 28,000 Florida clients lost power Sunday, most of them in Hillsborough. By about 4:30 p.m., that number had fallen to a still-substantial 22,000.

Duke Energy also reported a smattering of outages across the area.

The strong winds in particular posed a safety threat all over the region. In Clearwater, the city's police department tweeted out updates about dangerous downed lines.

In Cypress Point Park in Tampa, the winds caused unusually high tides. Eric Defelice of the Tampa Police Department said Tampa saw no major flooding. However, deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office did spend some of the day clearing local roads of debris.

In Madeira Beach, winds were furious enough to rip down trees. Gusts even tore a screen off of a porch, according to Bay News 9.

Rick Davis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the sudden torrent of inclement weather came out of the Gulf of Mexico Sunday morning.

The system moved quickly in and out of the region. By the late afternoon, the worst of the weather had mostly subsided.

Contact Kirby Wilson at kwilson@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8793. Follow @kirbywtweets.

Contact Paul Guzzo at pguzzo@tampabay.com. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.

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