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Tornado struck Madeira Beach during Sunday storm, officials confirm

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 6

The National Weather Service Monday confirmed reports that a tornado hit Madeira Beach when severe weather pushed through the bay area Sunday afternoon.

Videos and photos spread across social media Sunday showing wild wind and even a sun room that was ripped off a home and sent flying across the street in the beachside city. The Weather Service issued a tornado warning early Sunday afternoon after radar showed a waterspout with potential to make its way on shore.

"We saw evidence on the radar at the time that there could be a waterspout moving on shore," forecaseter Tony Hurt said early Monday, adding the lack of more visual evidence made it difficult to confirm a tornado.

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

However, Hurt later said that officials were able to review the existing photographic evidence and surrounding circumstances to confirm the water spout hit shore, causing minor damage before quickly dissipating.

"The most important things was probably the pictures and videos coupled with our radar evidence, which had been the basis of our warning," Hurt said.

The tornado only hit the immediate coast, but strong winds from the storm impacted the entire bay area.

Tampa Electric Co.reported about 28,000 outages because of the storm, with an array coming from Duke Energy, too. Local law enforcement agencies reported downed power lines and uprooted trees as part of the quick storm's damaging effects.

Contact Daniel Figueroa IV at dfigueroa@tampabay.com. Follow @danuscripts.

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