Tropical Storm Andrea made landfall Thursday evening in Dixie County, north of the Bay area.
After a busy day of heavy rain, gusty wind, and tornadoes, our weather is finally calming down.
"We did have tornadoes that caused damage earlier today, we did have very heavy rainfall that consistently went on hour after hour that caused flooding. We’re not going to see any more of that. The tornado threat is diminishing, the threat of heavy rain, well you may get some spotty showers that may put out a brief downpour, but nothing like we saw earlier today," said Bay News 9 Meteorologist Alan Winfield.
So finally we can breathe a sigh of relief, Andrea is done walloping us and it looks like our weather will be improving as time goes on.”
As of 5:30 p.m., Tampa airport has received 3.31" which breaks the old record of 2.69" set in 1934.
Heavy rain, winds and a confirmed tornado pounded the Tampa Bay area early Thursday as weather associated with Tropical Storm Andrea moved across the region.
Tornadoes were confirmed in parts of Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties during the morning hours.
A tornado touched down along 22nd Avenue South just before 10:30 a.m. in Gulfport, knocking tree limbs onto the roof of a building.
“This was a very lopsided system,” said Winfield. "Most of the time on the western side of the system there was nothing we could detect going on. Everything seemed to be from the center eastward. And of course Florida has been east of the center. That’s why we’ve had these spiral bands coming through, we’ve had some tornadoes today and the very heavy rainfall and some very gusty winds.”
The Florida Highway Patrol closed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge just before noon due to excessive winds of more than 40 mph. It opened just after 6:15 p.m.
The Gandy Bridge closed briefly due to a down power line on the Tampa side. It reopened around 7:30 p.m.
At least three inches of rain pounded parts of the Bay area, along with gusty conditions and the chance of more tornadoes. Multiple parts of the Bay area already received more than three inches of rain early in the day.
Looking ahead, rain chances drops off dramatically on Friday.
“However, any shower or storm that does pop up will be very heavy,” said Bay News 9 Meteorologist Brian McClure.
Rain totals as of 4 p.m.
West Largo 4.88
St. Pete/Clearwater Airport 3.61
Lakeland Highlands 2.44
Citrus Park 3.03
Land O Lakes 3.32
Port Richey 2.10
Wind gusts Thursday
Tampa 47 mph
Sarasota Brad airport 40 mph
Treasure Island 51 mph
Albert Whitted 48 mph
Seminole 45 mph
Mulberry 40 mph
Tornado damage in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas
According to Bay News 9 Meteorologist Josh Linker, there were confirmed tornados early Thursday in the Sun City Center area of Hillsborough County and Myakka City area of Manatee County. There was some property damage and several downed power lines.
This weather is in association with Tropical Storm Andrea which formed yesterday in the Gulf of Mexico, the first of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season.
Andrea-related weather also brought strong rain and winds in Myakka City, Sun City Center, Davis Islands, MacDill Air Force Base and Peter O' Knight Airport and throughout Pinellas County.
There was building damage to homes in Sun City Center and a store in Myakka City. Also, there were tree limbs blown down, lawn furniture blown around and a screened-in pool enclosure damaged. Duke Energy, Tampa Electric and Florida Power all reported outages. Power was reported out along parts of the Pinellas beaches, including at the Don Cesar Hotel.
According to a report, a horse was badly injured in a barn in the Myakka area and had to be put down as a result of its injuries.
Andrea's rain and winds took down a large section of the roof of dog kennels at the Humane Society of Pinellas County on State Road 590 in Clearwater.
Officials at the Humane Society said all of the animals were safe and there were no injuries.
Tampa Police limited traffic on Bayshore Boulevard to one lane at various times of the day due to flooding concerns. Also, Hillsborough County maintenance officials are monitoring an apparent sinkhole near Jerry Smith Road and Lanson Creek Lane in Dover.
Beachgoers urged to be cautious
Tropical Storm Andrea could also mean rip tides and coastal flooding. As a result, city officials are asking residents to be careful if they go to the beach over the next few days.
On Thursday, officials closed the area of Clearwater Beach between Tower 3 and Pier 60. A double red flag is flying due to a strong current. Surf conditions are expected to worsen.
Over the next few days lifeguards will be keeping an eye on the conditions and will use the warning flag system if needed, Clearwater officials said. The lifeguards will display yellow flags if swimmers need to be cautious about getting in the water. If conditions are deemed a high hazard, the red flag will be displayed.
"We look to have our hands full if we get some foul weather," said Patrick Brafford, water safety supervisor for the City. "Any time we have high winds, we will have higher surf, and that will bring up concerns on rip currents and beach erosions."
Officials said they are particularly concerned about students going to the beach this week, especially as school has let out for the summer.