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More damaging downpours could rip through Tampa area


Published:   |   Updated: July 18, 2013 at 03:43 PM

A day after a powerful line of storms ripped through the Tampa Bay area, damaging a mobile home and uprooting a large tree in Dover, there is an even higher chance for possibly severe rain today.

Today's rain chances are 60 percent as an upper-level low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico will drive moisture from the south, possibly creating torrential downpours, News Channel 8 meteorologist Leigh Spann said.

A stray shower is possible earlier today under partly cloudy skies, with isolated rain coming from the south around noon.

Pockets of heavy rain could begin this afternoon into tonight, creating the chance of localized flooding.

The higher-than-average rain chances will linger into Friday as the system pushes to the north, with more seasonal afternoon storms returning this weekend.

Wednesday's storms were more damaging than normal, knocking a massive tree into a Dover mobile home.

The storm moved through at about 4:30 p.m. In Dover, strong winds uprooted a huge tree that smashed into a mobile home at Shady Oaks Mobile Home Park, 12640 Jess Walden Road. No one was home, but the mobile home was destroyed.

The National Weather Service says the damage was not caused by a tornado but by strong downdrafts from passing thunderstorms. Gusts were recorded as high as 60 to 70 mph, according to weather service meteorologist Richard Rude.

The storm also left numerous large branches down over the area, particularly in Westchase and Seffner, and knocked out power to many traffic lights. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office sent deputies armed with chainsaws to help clear the road of obstructions.

Lightning from the storms also is attributed to a fire in an attic at a Clearwater home.

Clearwater firefighters were called around 4:20 to a home at 820 Woodside Drive, the same time a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect.

Firefighters arrived seven minutes later, officials say. The two people inside the house got out safely, and no injuries were reported.

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