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Confirmed tornadoes leave widespread damage across parts of Tampa Bay area

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Posted at 4:53 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 15:04:10-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Several areas of Tampa Bay are assessing the damage left behind from a squall of storms that produced tornadoes on both sides of Tampa Bay.

At least three tornado warnings were issued by the National Weather Service on Wednesday in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Polk Counties.

The NWS believes there were tornadoes in Pinellas Park, along the Howard Frankland Bridge and near Kathleen.

The National Weather Service said at 4:08 p.m., a “confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado” was located over the Howard Frankland Bridge, southwest of Tampa. It was moving northeast at 35 mph.

Pinellas Park Police say at least 25 structures were damaged by the storm. The storm also left thousands of customers without power.

Video from Action Air 1 shows extensive and widespread damage.

Below is a timeline of events.


THURSDAY

2:20 p.m.

The National Weather Service confirmed there were two tornadoes in the Tampa Bay area Wednesday. An EF-2 tornado tore through Pinellas Park and then an EF-1 tornado hit part of Polk County.

12:08 PM

Reporter McKenna King shows damage in Pinellas Park where a tornado tore through near the Bryan Dairy Rd area yesterday afternoon.


WEDNESDAY

11:16 p.m.

Reporter JJ Burton spoke to a Polk County woman who said she had to wait hours to get home following the tornado

Polk County woman waits hours to get home after tornado

11:07 p.m.

A tornado that made its way through Polk County has left some homes uninhabitable

Tornado leaves some Polk County homes uninhabitable

11:05 p.m.

Crews are removing tree branches and loose tree limbs in the neighborhood on Elmhurst Drive in Pinellas Park.

Storm cleanup in Pinellas Park neighborhood (JULIE SALMONE)

11:01 p.m.

A business in an industrial park off Bryan Dairy Road suffered extensive damage during Wednesday’s tornado.

The Pinellas Park Police Department stated 25 buildings were damaged, with some located on Endeavour Way completely destroyed.

“It’s tragic,” said Kirk Blosser. “I’m waiting to get to my business just to see how much damage was done. It’s a big setback. Hopefully, everybody gets together and helps each other out.”

Strong winds flipped a worker’s truck on its top. The tornado also tipped over a semi-truck trailer and peeled the roofs off of several buildings.

Tornado damage in Pinellas Park (RYAN SMITH)

10:51 p.m.

David Volante shared a video with ABC Action News showing the confirmed tornado moving over the Bryan Dairy overpass above 66th Street.

Confirmed tornadoes leave widespread damage across parts of Tampa Bay (VIEWER VIDEO)

10:30 p.m.

POWER OUTAGE UPDATE: There are 2,410 Duke customers without energy due to severe weather

9:41 p.m.

Due to Wednesday's severe weather, Feeding Tampa Bay will host two emergency distributions Thursday morning at Tropicana Field and Northwest Presbyterian Church.

Both locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. No ID or screening is required to pick up food.

9:12 p.m.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd gave an update on the storm damage that happened across Polk County

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd gives update on storm damage

7:01 p.m.

Duke Energy reports “significant damage” to its electrical grid in the Pinellas Park and Largo areas. More than 25 power poles need repairs or replacement. Duke says crews are beginning to make repairs. Some customers will have serviced restore tonight, but some areas may extend into Thursday. 14,000 customers were impacted in the initial outage.

6:55 p.m.

Polk County Fire Rescue said half a dozen homes were damages due to the storms. There were no injuries.

6:03 p.m.

Reporter Julie Salmone is live with storm damage in Pinellas County

Storm damage across Pinellas County area

6:01 p.m.

Reporter Ryan Smith is out live with the storm damage in Pinellas County

Storm damage across Tampa Bay area

5:45 p.m.

About 13,000 Duke customers are without power in Pinellas County

5:29 p.m.

Here is a look at the damage in the 10900 block of Endeavour Way in Pinellas Park.

5:26 p.m.

Tornado Warning for Polk County to expire at 5:30 p.m.

5:25 p.m.

Over 2,300 TECO customers are without power after the storm passed through.

5:23 p.m.

There were 25 structures damaged in the Brian Dairy area after the storm passed through. There were no injuries, police said.

5:21 p.m.

Here are clips of the storm off I-4:

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tornado damage1.png

5:12 p.m.

Tornado Warning for Hillsborough County expires at 5:15 p.m.

5:07 p.m.

Here are pictures of tornado damage in the 12000 block of 49th Street N in Clearwater:

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5:05 p.m.

Tornado Warning issued for Hillsborough and Polk Counties until 5:30 p.m.

4:47 p.m.

New tornado warning issued for Hillsborough County until 5:15 p.m.

4:43 p.m.

Duke Energy reports over 10,000 customers are without power

4:33 p.m.

Tornado Warning for Hillsborough County expires

4:24 p.m.

4:15 p.m.

Tornado Warning for Pinellas County expires

4:09 p.m.

Tornado Warning issued for Hillsborough County until 4:45 p.m.

4:08 p.m.

NWS says confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado was located over the Howard Frankland Bridge, southwest of Tampa, moving northeast at 35 mph.

3:49 p.m.

Tornado Warning issued for Pinellas County until 4:15 p.m.

This is a developing story, get the latest breaking news on ABC Action News