Editor’s note: The live updates have concluded.
An EF1 tornado in St. Petersburg knocked over trees, including one that hit a preschool and another that crashed through the window of a home, as a system of severe weather moved across the Tampa Bay area Thursday.
By 4 p.m., the tornado watch and an assortment of other weather watches and warnings around the Tampa Bay area had expired.
The Tampa Bay area also saw some street flooding and power outages from the storms.
5:45 p.m. National Weather Service confirms EF1 tornado
A tornado hit St. Petersburg around 9th Avenue North on Thursday, impacting about 20 homes, the National Weather Service confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times. Meteorologists determined it was an EF1 tornado, producing winds around 100 miles per hour.
The weather service measures tornado strength using the Enhanced Fujita scale, which ranges from EF0 to EF5. An EF1 rating is the second-lowest of the six classifications, with winds between 86-110 mph.
The tornado was about 300 feet wide and its track was about a quarter of a mile long, the weather service said. A meteorologist with the weather service described it as a small tornado.
5 p.m.: Power restored to most, scattered outages remain
By the late afternoon, power had been restored to most of the 8,500 customers around Tampa Bay that had lost it Thursday morning.
As of 5 p.m., Duke Energy’s outage maps showed 439 customers in Pinellas County were still without power. The majority of those were in the Pasadena area, near St. Pete Beach. And in Pasco County, Duke reported just one customer was without power.
Power in Pinellas and Pasco counties is expected to be fully restored by Thursday night, Duke’s outage summary said.
Tampa Electric Co. reported that more than 80% of its customers who lost power had it restored by around 4:30 p.m. The company’s outage map showed only 248 customers still without power.
1:24 p.m.: Preschool damaged by downed tree
At about 12:10 p.m., St. Petersburg Fire Rescue received calls about downed trees along 9th Avenue North, between 58th Street and 49th Street. Officials found multiple large trees had been uprooted.
Only one tree fell on a building — a preschool attached to St. Vincent’s Episcopal Church. No injuries have been reported, officials said.
Crews immediately entered the building and found that the tree fell onto an unoccupied part of the building. Fire Rescue said the building is still stable and Duke Energy is responding to the area, despite no electrical lines being down.
The National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office said it received reports of damage in St. Petersburg, however it can not yet confirm if it was caused by a tornado.
”A survey would have to be done for use to determine what the damage was … because there was also some strong winds with the system, so we haven’t confirmed anything,” Keily Delerme, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office, said.
12:58 p.m.: Flooding shuts down Tampa street
Tampa police tweeted just before 1 p.m. that N 22nd Street from Meridel Avenue to E. Bougainvillea Avenue was shut down because of flooding.
12:55 p.m.: Severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Hillsborough
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued just before 1 p.m. for parts of Hillsborough and Manatee counties. It was expected to last until 1:30 p.m.
12:52 p.m.: Damage to Spring Hill 7-Eleven
Parts of a 7-Eleven roof collapsed Thursdays during storms in Spring Hill, according to photos from Fox 13 reporter Evan Axelbank.
12:45 p.m. Street flooding reported in Tampa
The city of Tampa confirmed street flooding on North 22nd Street is not passable. The report says the flooding runs from at least Meridel Avenue to East Bougainvillea Avenue, near Witter Elementary School. To check for more street flooding, click here.
12:38 p.m.: St. Petersburg building and church damaged
The St. Petersburg Police Department said 9th Avenue North is closed from 54th to 57th Street North due to a weather event that damaged a building and church. Police are advising people to avoid the area.
12:30 p.m. “Wapow!” Video captures lightning strike
Twitter user @jessithebuckeye tweeted a video showing a lightning strike during a Spectrum Bay News 9 broadcast.
12:15 p.m.: Tampa Bay radar check
Spectrum Bay News 9 Weather tweeted a graphic of a radar showing a line of severe weather passing through parts of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco. The weather will continue east through the afternoon, Bay News 9 said.
12:10 p.m.: Severe thunderstorm issued for Pinellas
Parts of southern Pinellas, including St. Petersburg, Lealman and Gulfport are in a severe thunderstorm warning until 12:30 p.m., according to the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office.
11:48 a.m.: Storm videos show gusty winds, heavy rains
The City of Treasure Island posted a video to its Twitter account showing rough surf from gusty winds.
Spectrum Bay News 9 reporter Nick Popham posted a video depicting heavy rains and minor flooding in Tarpon Springs.
Mike’s Weather Page, a popular twitter account from local Mike Boylan, posted a video that shows heavy rains and lightning in Pasco County.
11:30 a.m.: Power outages reported
As storms rolled into the Tampa Bay area Thursday morning, roughly 8,500 customers were without power as of about 11:30 a.m.
Duke Energy maps showed about 7,000 outages. Roughly 4,000 of those outages were in the St. Petersburg area. New Port Richey saw a little over 600 outages and the area near the Pasco-Hernando border reported about 2,000 outages.
TECO reported roughly 1,600 outages near Oldsmar. The Pebble Creek area between New Tampa and Wesley Chapel had around 40 outages.
10:55 a.m.: Tornado warning in part of Hernando County
A tornado warning was issued for parts of Hernando County around 11 a.m. and will last until 11:30 a.m., including Spring Lake, Ridge Manor and Rerdell. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in an area and suggests that people be prepared. A tornado warning means a tornado is expected and to seek shelter.
10:41 a.m.: Severe thunderstorm warning issued for parts of Tampa Bay
The weather service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties on Thursday morning that was set to last until 11:30 a.m. Forecasters said winds could blow as fast as 60 mph and could damage roofs and down trees.
8 a.m.: Tornado watch issued for Central Florida
The entirety of Central Florida is under a tornado watch until 4 p.m. according to the National Weather Service.