ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Damage in one Tampa Bay beachside community appears so severe that meteorologists think it might have been caused by a tornado.
A porch was ripped from a neighbor's Parsley Drive home and thrown into another neighbor's yard. All throughout, branches fell on top of power lines and into the street.
The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-0 tornado hit Madeira Beach on Sunday. It issued a tornado warning for Pinellas County just moments before a waterspout moved ashore.
Once a waterspout reaches land, it is considered a tornado.
This pocket of severe weather was part of a whole line of strong to severe thunderstorms that brought destructive winds to the Tampa Bay region, knocking out power for thousands of people.
The number of outages across the area is numerous: Duke Energy reported more than 4,800 customers are in the dark in Pasco County, with 2,200 customers out in Pinellas County.
TECO reports more than 22,000 outages in its service area.
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A tornado warning earlier was in effect for Pinellas County because of the threat of a waterspout. As the line of storms moved inland, most locations were placed under a severe thunderstorm warning for the threat of 60-mph damaging winds.
Clearwater police said it has been dealing with reports of downed trees and power lines across the city. It tweeted a photo just after 1 p.m. of a tree down across lines in the area of Norwood Avenue and Jeffords Street.
A large tree fell in the area of 30th Avenue and 66th Street North in St. Petersburg, partially crushing a car as it sat parked in the driveway.
In Land O' Lakes, a trampoline appeared to bust through a fence in the area of State Road 54 and the Suncoast Parkway.
An early roundup of unofficial wind reports compiled by the National Weather Service shows most damage coming from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, mostly regarding downed trees and branches.
The weather service notes of several strong gusts, including 58-mph gusts in Largo and Pinellas Park, and a 62-mph gust in Oldsmar.
A thunderstorm is considered severe when winds meet or exceed 58 mph.
Other reports mentioned a 59-mph gust in Polk County, and large trees damaging a roof in Hernando County.
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