TAMPA (FOX 13) - High winds and severe storms forced the closure of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge this afternoon. Meanwhile, a tornado watch remains in effect for the northern half of Florida, including the Tampa Bay area.
Forecasters say the trailing edge of a strong cold front is moving through Florida today. As expected, it brought severe storms and even several possible tornados. The same front produced tornados and damaging winds in Alabama and Georgia late yesterday and overnight.
There was no immediate report of tornado damage in the Bay Area, but widespread power outages were reported in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge closed due to high winds, but all lanes had reopened by 4:50 p.m.
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As a precaution, Sarasota County says all after-school sports, extra-curricular activities, and related transportation have been canceled. After-care will still be provided.
The tornado watch, which remains in effect until 7 p.m., extends north above a line roughly from North Port over to Melbourne, including the entire Bay Area.
Eventually, there will be cooler weather after the front moves through, with highs only in the 60s for the next few days. Temperatures will rebound for the weekend, though.
Severe thunderstorm producing hail in St. Petersburg this afternoon! Storms end this evening followed by much cooler and drier weather. Credit: Dalton Owens @StPeteFL #Skytower #Florida pic.twitter.com/7qxSHzbHlf— Paul Dellegatto⚡️FOX (@PaulFox13) March 20, 2018