TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A “brief” and “weak” tornado touched down in the Town ‘n’ Country area of Tampa Bay on Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service has confirmed.
A tornado warning was issued by the NWS for north central Pinellas County around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday as severe thunderstorms passed through the area.
In its alert, the NWS said a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was seen near Palm Harbor and Clearwater, moving southwest. The warning noted that Oldsmar and Safety Harbor, which are near Town ‘n’ Country, could also be impacted.
NWS officials later confirmed a weak tornado hit near Baycrest Drive in Town ‘n’ Country. The NWS said it confirmed the tornado with a storm spotter who saw it.
Photos taken after the storm show damage on Boxwood Drive.
The tornado warning expired around 6:30 p.m., but strong storms continued to move through the Tampa Bay area.
Farther north, weather damage was reported in New Port Richey. Pasco County fire officials tweeted photos of what they called minor damage to homes and trees near Belvedere Terrace. No one was injured, according to the post.
Photos posted to social media by Dan Ewing also showed damage in the Veterans Village area of New Port Richey. Thankfully, he said, everyone seemed to be OK.
Viewers in Pasco County had previously reached out to WFLA with photos and videos showing a funnel cloud.
Malik Johnson captured the funnel cloud on his phone after it came through his Pasco County neighborhood, but the damage was already done.
“It just came out of nowhere,” Johnson said. “Everything’s just messed up. Trees are everywhere.”
Johnson was home with his family. He says it was raining, they heard thunder and then a crash.
“I heard a tree fall on my car,” Johnson said.
The tree also fell on his stepdad’s car. Fortunately, it missed their home.
Anna Phillips lives down the street from Johnson. She says she watched the funnel cloud form, but shortly after, ran inside and hid in the bathroom.
“It just started taking things from the ground and turning it around, turn it, spinning it,” Phillips said. “Winds started forming, and debris started flying, everything started flying.”
Once the weather cleared up, people in the neighborhood grabbed their chainsaws and rakes and went to work, cleaning up the debris. Johnson is grateful, because he knows this could’ve ended differently.
“Luckily, I wasn’t in my car when it happened because I was planning on leaving,” Johnson said. “So, you know God’s good.”
Another possible funnel cloud was also spotted in Sarasota County Tuesday evening.
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