2 p.m. update:
Post Tropical Cyclone Nestor makes landfall on St. Vincent Island Florida.
1:25 p.m. update:
The National Weather Service confirms an EF-2 tornado touched down in Kathleen late Friday night with winds up to 120 mph.
11:55 a.m. update:
Kathleen Middle was damaged during last night’s severe weather and, as a result, classes for Kathleen Middle will be canceled on Monday (Oct. 21) and Tuesday (Oct. 22).
Maintenance workers are currently surveying the damage, which included the historic building of Kathleen Middle.
Again, classes for Kathleen Middle have been canceled for Monday (Oct. 21) and Tuesday (Oct. 22).
All other Polk County Public Schools are expected to have classes next week as normal.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to address any necessary repairs and renovations for Kathleen Middle.
We will provide updates on the reopening of Kathleen Middle using the automated telephone calling system for parents and guardians as well as the district’s website and social media (Facebook and Twitter). Local media will also be notified.
11:30 a.m. update:
Radar imagery shows a brief EF-1 tornado spawned in the northwest portion of Cape Coral this morning around 6:45 a.m.
Multiple structures and vehicles were damaged by this tornado, the National Weather Service reports. Thankfully no injuries have been reported.
11:16 a.m. update:
Video from Kathleen, Florida shows widespread destruction from what may be a tornado. Part of the area seeing damage is Mt. Tabor Baptist Church and surrounding homes and buildings.
11 a.m. update:
Nestor has been downgraded to a post tropical low pressure system.
9:50 a.m. update:
From Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd: "Thankfully, we have not had any reported serious injuries related to the 'long track' tornado that touched down in our unincorporated areas in northwest Polk County last night. However, there are many people dealing with damage to their homes and property this morning some of it severe. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers, and if there is anything you can do to help your friends and neighbors, do it. We still have lots of rain, and the possibility of more severe weather today, so be careful! Please drive safely!" Grady Judd, Sheriff
As of this morning, these area roads are reported either closed or there is restricted traffic:
New Tampa Hwy/Hibiscus Pkwy E.; Clark Rd/New Tampa Hwy; Walker Rd/Swindell Rd; Bella Vista St W/Galloway Rd N; Bella Vista St W/Sutton Rd.; Swindell Rd E of Kirkland; and Publix Rd/Mt. Tabor Rd.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office released the following:
An apparent tornado touched down in portions of northwest Polk County
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says an apparent tornado touched down in parts of west, northwest Polk County.
The sheriff’s office said the possible twister initially touched down in the area of Lakeland Linder Airport.
The storm continued in a north, northeast direction stretching from the airport as far north as Tom Bryant Lane.
Several areas sustained damage to include the New and Old Tampa Highway corridors and Timber Ridge N, S, E, and W areas.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office Emergency Communications Center received dozens of reports of damage.
Mt. Tabor and the surrounding streets sustained damage to structures, power lines and numerous trees were reported being down or damaged.
The apparent path of the tornado, according to reports of damage received by the PCSO, continued up the Kathleen Rd. corridor causing damage to Kathleen Middle School and numerous residential structures.
Deputies from our Northwest District and from across Polk County responded to the areas of reported damage to assist in damage assessments and locating any people needing emergency medical services. Polk County Fire Rescue responded to the area to assess damage and provide services as needed.
According to initial law enforcement reports, there have been no reported serious injuries reported to the Polk County Sheriff's Office or Polk County Fire Rescue as a result of the tornado.
Formal damage assessments will be completed after the weather system has moved out of the area.
The following is a partial list of some of the calls the sheriff’s office worked.
- Vehicle Crash; 11:10 p.m.; I-4 between Polk Parkway and Memorial Blvd.; Semi-tractor Trailer was pushed over by the wind, collided with a vehicle, no serious injuries.
- Highway obstruction; Old Tampa Highway and Clark Road; Electric lines down; Lakeland Electric responding
- Possible tornado damage; Timberlake Road E, Kathleen; Damage to house, barn, and garage; windows blown out in home
- Possible tornado damage; Bella Vista Street W and Walker Road, Kathleen; Advises tornado hit houses in the area; trees are damaged and in the roadway
- Roadway obstruction; Polston Road and Mt. Tabor Road; Trees down in the roadway, complete blockage on Polston, also stated trees down on Sleepy Hill Road near the area
- Roadway obstruction; Knights Station Road & Galloway Road; Kathleen; electric lines down, power pole snapped; Lakeland Electric already has crews out.
- Possible tornado damage; Manor Loop; damage to a home window; broken Roadway obstruction; Clark Road & New Tampa Highway; Power lines down.
- Possible tornado damage; Manor Loop; Tree on & through the roof no injuries.
- Roadway obstruction; Kathleen Road & Tom Bryan Lane; road is completely blocked by trees “probably a mile" of blockage.
- Possible tornado damage; Ashley Pointe Drive; damage to fence and car, no injuries.
- Possible tornado damage; Youngs Ridge Road; tree damage; damage to mobile home park; roof damage.
- Roadway obstruction; Highland Grove Drive and Willow Wisp Drive; power lines down; power out in the area; tree and fence knocked down.
- Possible tornado damage; Publix Road, between Mt. Tabor and Sunnyside Drive, Kathleen; power lines down; roof damage; trees down; damaged homes.
- Possible tornado damage; Campbell Rd., West, between Manor Dr. and Ashley Pointed Drive; tree in the road, vehicle damaged no one in the vehicle no injuries.
- Possible tornado damage; Timberlake Rd., neighbor's home received significant damage; he is out of the home, trees are down; no power in the area; tree blocking the road; no injuries reported.
- Possible tornado damage; Ashley Pointe Dr.; tornado damage windows damaged on car; minor injury from glass breakage.
- Possible tornado damage; Highland Grove Dr.; damage to windows on a vehicle; glass breakage in a home; power out; no injuries.
- Possible tornado damage; Valley Farm Rd; 11:44 pm; power lines are down; power pole is down; no injuries.
- Roadway obstruction; Ariana Street and Southern Avenue; tree down in the roadway.
- Possible tornado damage; Chart Prine Road; Trees are down in the area; damage to the vehicle; damage to pool screen, carport, and shed; power lines hanging low.
CLOSINGS AND CANCELLATIONS
Due to unsafe weather conditions, the Downtown Farmers Curb Market is canceled for today, October 19th.
Due to inclement weather, Adventure Island will be closed on Saturday.
Due to safety concerns from high winds and surf, City of Venice Public Works staff has closed the South Jetty walkway at Humphris Park. The Jetty walkway will reopen when conditions improve, as determined by the City.
Here's everything you need to know about what happened overnight:
- Multiple tornado watches and warnings have come and gone since around 9 p.m. on Friday. You'll want to remain weather aware throughout Saturday morning as the entire Tampa Bay area remains under a tornado threat.
- The National Weather Service has confirmed that an EF-0 tornado touched down in Seminole, causing damage to the Twelve Oaks Mobile Home area off of Park Boulevard. The tornado caused significant damage to several homes.
- At least one other tornado may have touched down in Polk County, where high winds ripped a roof off of Kathleen Middle School and caused a semi-truck to overturn on I-4. The NWS said it will be out early Saturday to survey the damage and make a determination on whether or not it was caused by a tornado.
- Storm surge remains a concern, with a warning issued from Indian Pass to Clearwater Beach.