A line of heavy thunderstorms that passed through parts of the Bay area is finally letting up.

The most rainfall occurred in Hillsborough, Manatee and southern Polk counties on Friday.

Radars also indicated a possible tornado in northeastern Sarasota county heading towards eastern Manatee County around 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

"We may never know if it touched down because it was not a highly populated area," said Bay News 9 Meteorologist Brian McClure.

The area with the highest threat was near Myakka City. The warning expired at 4:45 p.m.

A line of storms that moved in off the Gulf of Mexico has caused major flood issues in Hillsborough County.

A flood watch has been issued for Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Manatee counties until Saturday afternoon.

There were multiple reports of flooding in the USF/Busch Gardens area in Hillsborough County. At least six inches of rain fell near University Mall in Tampa.

Tampa has already seen 2.94 inches of rain, breaking the 1937 record of 2.28 inches. Rainfall at the Sarasota Bradenton Airport was at 3.11 inches on Friday afternoon, breaking the 1964 record of .97.

A flash flood warning was issued for central Hillsborough County. It has since expired.

Flood waters are already beginning to recede in north Tampa.

"The heaviest of rains has already fallen," said McClure.

The heavy rain caused the closing of Lowry Park Zoo for the day and delayed the opening of Busch Gardens.

Why all the major flooding in north Tampa? McClure said it's not abnormal.

"As the front moves in, it acts like a funnel for all the moisture to stream along it," McClure said. "So when the front was moving in earlier, it led to what we call a training effect. It's when multiple thunderstorms move through the same area one behind the other, hence the word train."

Rainy weather will be hanging around through most of the weekend.

McClure said the best day if you have outdoor plans this weekend will be Sunday.

"We're going to start drying out Saturday afternoon," he said. "Sunday looks gorgeous."

Busch Oaks Street suffers major flooding

About 3 feet of water fell on Busch Oaks Street on Friday and residents are stuck waiting for the water to recede so they can start cleaning up.

Verona and O.E. Snow have lived on the street for 17 years.

"Nothing like this,” said Veronia Snow.

Snow said she got scared when the rain just kept falling.

"I thought oh my gosh...I said a prayer and God always looks after me," she said.

The Snow's consider themselves lucky. Many of their neighbors ended up with water in their houses.

"Never had anything like this and were fortunate we didn't get it this time,” said O.E. Snow.  “Man across the street got water. The house there's got water in it."

The water was about 3 feet deep around 9 p.m. on Friday. Earlier in the day, a parking lot gave way and left a car teetering over the edge.

At the same time, neighbors were in a mad dash to save their things.

"I'm actually knee-deep in my garage right now,” said Shaun Harris.  “I'm actually trying to take as much as I can off the floor."

Some neighbors at the end of the block are essentially cut off from the rest of the neighborhood and they are just left to wait.

Vehicles stranded in flood waters

In Tampa, cars are stranded in flood waters at the following intersections:

  • Nebraska/Hanna
  • Bougainvillea/30th
  • Florida/Linebaugh
  • 22nd/109th multiple
  • Busch Blvd. btwn 17 St. and 50th St.
  • 56th St & Fowler Avenue
  • 56th St. at Busch Blvd.

Tampa Police say if drivers can't see the road, don't drive through it.

In Holiday, two southbound lanes of U.S. 19 at Flora Avenue are blocked due to flooding, while in Spring Hill, a viewer reported that Swallow Lane is covered in water.

In Tarpon Springs, the exterior hallways of Tarpon Springs High School were briefly flooded. School officials said the waters have since receded and that school will continue as normal.

As of 7 a.m. New Port Richey had already seen nearly two inches of rain, while the Brooksville - Tampa Bay Regional Airport had already received two-thirds of an inch of rain.

The weather caused nearly 4,000 homes to lose power in the area on Friday. At last check, around 10:30 p.m., nearly 2,000 TECO customers were still without power.

Event cancellations

The heavy rainfall also led to the cancellation of some events scheduled for this weekend.

The 4th Annual Food and Wine on Pine Event, in Manatee County, has been cancelled. No rescheduled date has been announced.

The game between the Bradenton Marauders and the St. Lucie Mets has been postponed, made up in doubleheader consisting of two seven inning games on Saturday, May 3.

The Family Fun Day Festival that was scheduled for Saturday in St. Petersburg has been canceled. Officials did not say if they planned to reschedule the event.

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life-Palm Harbor & Tarpon Springs has been postponed until Friday, May 9 at 6 p.m. to Saturday May 10 at 6 a.m. at Palm Harbor University High School.

The Night in the Islands event for May 3rd in Tarpon Springs has been postponed. Organizers plan to announce a new date as soon as possible.

Busch Gardens has delayed its opening for the day.

Lowry Park Zoo is closed for the day.

The 16th Annual 13 Ugly Men White Party canceled. Organizers will email customers regarding a new date. Refunds will be issued.

The Fun and Sun comedy and beer tasting that was scheduled for Saturday, May 3 in Coachman Park has been moved to Capitol Beer House at 422 Cleveland Street. Those who purchased tickets will be refunded the ticket price. Attendees should bring their tickets and they will still be given tickets for Cigar City Beer samples.

Rain chances are expected to stay high for Saturday as a front continues to move across the Florida peninsula.

Once the front moves south on Sunday, McClure said the weather will be drier with lower humidity.

Hillsborough County sandbags

Hillsborough County is making sandbags available to the public, as weather conditions permit, at all three County Public Works Service Units:

  • West Service Unit - 9805 Sheldon Road
  • South Service Unit – 8718 Old Big Bend Road
  • East Service Unit – 4702 Sydney Road
  • Himes Sports Complex, 4500 South Himes Avenue
  • Jackson Heights Playground, 3310 E. Lake Avenue
  • City of Tampa Solid Waste at 4010 W. Spruce Street

Sandbag materials will be available for residents to make their own sandbags. Each citizen must sign their name and provide their home address acknowledging the receipt of 25 sandbags or less.

Citizens also can call 813-635-5400 to report flooding/road problems or request additional information.