The “large, extremely dangerous tornado” ripped across Pinellas, Hillsborough and Polk counties, beginning just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service, covering more than 50 miles in about two hours.
There was extensive damage in Pinellas County, according to the Tampa Bay Times. But there were no confirmed fatalities or serious injuries. The tornado weakened over Tampa Bay and formed again in Polk County on the other side, according to the paper.
Photos showed some of the havoc: an upside-down Chevy pickup, sheared rooftops, a bent and battered trampoline slammed against the side of a house, branches and other debris strewn through parking lots and flattened fences.
Bay News 9 reporter Jorja Roman shared a video showing what appeared to be a plastic or metal plank dangling from powerlines overhead.
Aerial video showed industrial rooftops ripped to shreds, and debris spewed across a parking lot. Other photos showed the storm had peeled the siding off of a warehouse near Bryan Dairy Road, which may have suffered the brunt of the tornado.
Nearby, a pole appeared to have blown over on Route 19 near 66th Street, according the Florida Highway Patrol.
Authorities reported numerous damaged vehicles and structures, and thousands of people lost power.
The weather service had predicted strong to severe thunderstorms across Central Florida for much of the afternoon.
The weather service’s Tampa Bay branch tweeted early Wednesday evening that it was looking for pictures or video of the storm, along with information on the approximate time and location they were taken.