5:14 p.m.: Highlands County is under a tornado warning until 5:45 p.m.
4:59 p.m.: Polk and Hardee counties are under a severe thunderstorm warning until 5:30 p.m.
4:48 p.m.: Southbound lanes of the Skyway Bridge have reopened.
4:46 p.m.: Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties are under a severe thunderstorm warning until 5 p.m.
4:45 p.m.: Northbound lanes of the Skyway Bridge have reopened. Southbound lanes are still closed.
4:33 p.m.: A dog was killed after a camper it was in was struck by lightning and caught fire, St. Petersburg Fire Rescue said. The camper was in a storage area on the 700 block of 40th Street South.
4:16 p.m.: Power outages are being reported across the region:
- Duke Energy - About 7,000 customers in Pinellas County are without power, including more than 2,000 in downtown St. Petersburg.
- TECO - More than 9,000 customers are without power in Hillsborough County, including over 4,000 in South Tampa.
4 p.m.: The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is closed to traffic because of high winds.
The thunderstorm warning for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties has been allowed to expire.
3:55 p.m.: A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until 4:45 p.m. for Manatee and Sarasota counties. Meteorologists say wind gusts to 70 mph and nickel-sized hail are possible as these storms pass.
3:48 p.m.: The severe threat is lessening for Florida and Tampa Bay. For its 4 p.m. update, the Storm Prediction Center downgraded the region from an "enhanced" risk for severe weather to a "slight" risk.
The risk for severe weather is not zero, only lessened. The tornado watch remains in effect until 7 p.m.
3:09 p.m.: A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until 4 p.m. for Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties. Wind gusts to 60 mph and nickel-sized hail are possible.
Use extreme caution on or approaching the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as strong to severe winds might blow across it.
10News viewer Beth Shakespeare got caught in a bit of a hailstorm as it passed through St. Petersburg.
2:30 p.m.: All tornado warnings have been allowed to expire. The tornado watch remains in effect until 7 p.m.
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2:26 p.m. The FAA has placed a ground stop at Tampa International Airport for all arriving and departing flights. It will remain until the storms and lightning have passed.
Check with your airline for any flight delays or cancelations.
1:54 p.m.: A tornado warning is in effect until 2:30 p.m. for southeastern Hernando County and northeastern Pasco County.
It is a radar-indicated tornado, meaning the warning has been issued by radar data alone. However, there is enough indication for meteorologists to say a tornado might be occurring.
Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building and avoid windows.
1:35 p.m.: A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until 2 p.m for eastern Pasco County and southeastern Sumter County.
Quarter-sized hail is possible, as well as wind gusts to 60 mph.
12:50 p.m.: The severe weather threat continues across the entire tornado watch area, according to to an update from the Storm Prediction Center.
The watch remains in effect until 7 p.m. for most of central Florida, including Tampa Bay.
Noon: Storms moving onshore of Pasco and Pinellas counties are showing signs of weakening and will not be immediately severe.
However, they are capable of nickel-size hail and wind gusts to 50 mph. It also is not out of the question the storms could intensify to severe levels -- continue to monitor the latest forecast.
11 a.m.: Meteorologists are watching an area of thunderstorms moving east toward the Pinellas County coastline. It's forecast to reach the coast around the noon hour.
Boaters watch out: waterspouts, wind gusts 34 knots or greater and large hail are possible.
10:20 a.m.: A tornado watch is in effect until 7 p.m. for most of central Florida, including Tampa Bay.
A watch means conditions are favorable for the development of strong to severe thunderstorms that produce tornadoes. In addition to tornadoes, large hail and damaging wind gusts to 70 mph are possible.
The watch includes much of the viewing area, including Citrus, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.
Original story below:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Almost like clockwork on this first day of spring, there's a decent chance of thunderstorms this Tuesday afternoon across the Tampa Bay area.
But be weather-aware: some of those storms could be pretty bumpy, Tuesday, March 20.
A strong surface cold front coupled with a potent upper-level low pressure system is sweeping across the Southeast U.S., and it'll arrive in our region during the early-to-mid afternoon hours. Out ahead of it are warm and humid conditions.
We'll be seeing this more and more often as we enter the spring season, this classic push of air masses. When they "clash," thunderstorms erupt and frequently can become strong to severe.
Where are the storms going to be?
The Storm Prediction Center paints much of Tampa Bay -- including Tampa, St. Petersburg and locations northward -- under an enhanced risk for severe storms. This means numerous severe storms are possible covering all modes: damaging winds, quarter-sized hail and a tornado or two.
The enhanced risk covers an area roughly along Interstate 4 northward -- Tampa Bay, Lakeland, Orlando, Ocala, Gainesville -- this portion of mid-central Florida likely will see better ingredients for severe weather.
Timing the storms
One of the better short-term computer models shows storms popping up around 11 a.m. north of Citrus County. Numerous storms begin to develop toward 3 p.m., and they enter Pinellas and Hillsborough counties during the evening rush.
The area begins to clear out after 7 p.m., and cooler air filtering in will end our chances for storms.
Full forecast: 10Weather's Tampa Bay forecast
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