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Tornado warning canceled, but waterspouts still possible in Tampa Bay

A tornado warning was briefly issued and canceled in Pinellas County by the National Weather Service.
A Coast Guard aircraft flies along the beach as threatening weather churns the water Wednesday, June 16, 2021 in Madeira Beach.
A Coast Guard aircraft flies along the beach as threatening weather churns the water Wednesday, June 16, 2021 in Madeira Beach. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Jun. 29
Updated Jun. 29

A tornado warning was briefly issued for Pinellas County on Tuesday afternoon as thunderstorms blanketed Tampa Bay.

The warning, which was issued at 4:13 p.m., lasted less than 15 minutes and encompassed a portion of the eastern half of the county, including both the Howard Frankland and Gandy bridges.

Spectrum Bay News 9 Chief Meteorologist Mike Clay said the warning was likely triggered by a waterspout that made its way to shore. He said the region was not at risk of a tornado, which is why the warning was quickly canceled by the National Weather Service.

Clay said that Pinellas County is still in for strong thunderstorms this evening. The weather service’s Ruskin office issued a similar warning, which said waterspouts will be possible throughout the night.

The National Weather Service also reported wind gusts of more than 40 mph in the area.

Despite the severe weather, the weather service had no reports of significant damage. A powerline was reported down on 66th Street near 87th Avenue in Pinellas Park.

Instead, the storms served as an inconvenience to some outdoor activities on both sides of Tampa Bay — forcing an early closure at Busch Gardens, while minor league baseball games were postponed for the Tampa Tarpons and the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Those hoping for a respite from the rain may have to wait until next week. Bay News 9 says there will be a 70 percent chance of rain on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by a 40 percent chance on Saturday. Independence Day will be a wet one, too, with a 50 percent chance of rain.