Storms leave trail of damaged homes in Tampa

Posted at 12:04 PM, May 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-04 17:15:15-04
Wednesday morning’s storms knocked trees into homes in the Seminole Heights and East Tampa neighborhoods.
One tree damaged a house near 20th Street north and East Osborne Avenue. About a mile away, a tree hit another home. A third home was hit by a branch the 100 Block of Alva St. Another home sustained serious damage to the garage roof and a family vehicle.
ABC Action News has also received a report of a tree down at the the 300 Block of Bryan Oak Ave. in Brandon.
One of the homeowners said when they moved in, he knew the old trees could become a problem. However, at the time, it seemed too expensive to get tree trimmers in.
"I remember at the time, just the estimate for getting one limb removed was like $1,000," Andrew Kuykendall of Tampa said.
But now, he's left with a damaged car and seriously damaged garage roof.
Another homeowner woke up to a tree hitting her family home.
"I heard a thump, a hard thump," Barbara Sanabia told ABC Action News. "I thought somebody fell!'
The storm dumped an estimated 1 to 2 inches of rain over much the area, but some areas reported much higher counts. Lakewood Ranch in Manatee County recorded as much 7 ½ inches of rain. Areas of Hernando County received more than 5 inches.
The weather led Busch Gardens to close its Tampa park at 5 p.m.
Tree Restoration Companies and tree trimmers across the area are now working to fix the damage. Billy Lipphardt of Payne's Environmentaltells ABC Acton News there are three big risk factors to assess when trying to see if your trees could be hazardous in a storm.
The first is checking the root structure of your trees. If the roots are coming out of the ground, or appear raised, that can signify the tree is not completely stable, Lipphardt said.
The second thing is to check for cavities within the trees. These look like holes, but can be much deeper than they appear, Lipphardt said. They can also be full of bugs and water, also making the tree unstable.
The third thing is to check for old, hanging limbs and dead weight. That can be very dangerous in heavy winds or rain, Lipphardt said.