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Waterspout forms in Old Tampa Bay as storms hit area


Published:   |   Updated: July 31, 2013 at 09:05 AM

A waterspout formed and was spotted by commuters Tuesday night over Old Tampa Bay between the Gandy and the Howard Frankland bridges, the National Weather Service in Ruskin said.


Waterspouts have become a regular sight in the region this summer. Tuesday's was witnessed about 7 p.m. heading toward the Howard Frankland Bridge, said Charlie Paxton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.
 
The spout was gone after about 15 minutes, before it reached the bridge.
 
It was over the bay,” Paxton said. “It was threatening the Howard Frankland Bridge. It was heading in that direction, (although) not very quickly. It dissipated before it reached the bridge.”
 
The waterspout formed in a line of severe, lightning-heavy thunderstorms that moved through the Bay area, causing some structural damage and power outages in Pinellas County.
 
According to Duke Energy, several thousand homes were without power after the storms, and a few homes still were without service Wednesday morning.
 
Pockets of storm damage were reported, including at the Sahara Hotel on Gandy Boulevard. Boat awnings came loose, damaging a power line and cars in the parking lot, according to reports.
 
A lightning strike at a nearby substation knocked out power at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg during the Tampa Bay Rays game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It led to a 20-minute delay in play.

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