Energetic storms struck the Tampa Bay area Wednesday evening knocking out power to several thousand customers.
Thousands of lightning strikes targeted areas from Levy County to Ft. Myers.
A strong thunderstorm over Levy County became severe around 4 pm Thursday evening with strong wind gusts and small hail. Soon after, strong storms started to develop in Hernando County with frequent cloud-to-ground lightning. The Hernando county storm was barely moving and by 5:30 pm, the lightning was excessive with nearly one hundred strikes every 10 minutes. The rain was torrential with nearly four inches of rain in eastern Hernando County by 6 pm.
Another storm started to impact Polk County with heavy rain and lightning. Multiple reports of a funnel cloud poured into the weather office. While the images were ominous, a tornado did not touch down. In fact, funnel clouds are a very common sight for Florida this time of year.
Strong storms knocked out power to more than 4,000 customers in Polk County for a brief moment.
Western Hillsborough County and Pinellas County were untouched by strong storms. The atmosphere surrounding the area was just percolating; until storms erupted around 8:30 pm. In fact, the storm over western Hillsborough County intensified so fast, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for a damaging wind threat.
Storms expanded west into Pinellas County with excessive lightning. This caused a few temporary outages across the county through 10pm.
Florida is the lightning capital of the United States and we are now at the time of year where the frequency of lightning is approaching its peak on Florida’s west coast, which typically occurs late July into early August.