KATHLEEN, Fla. - The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-2 tornado touched down in Kathleen around 11 p.m. Friday night, causing severe damage.
NWS Meteorologist Brian LaMarre said crews surveyed the damage in Polk County to determine the tornado's rating and wind speeds. Lamar said Friday night's storms produced an EF-2 tornado with wind speeds up to 120 mph.
Tropical Storm Nestor produced a series of tornadoes Friday night, originating in eastern Hillsborough County and ending in northwest Polk County, NWS said.
Preliminary estimates show damage to approximately 50 homes, meteorologists said following a survey of the damage.
Damage down the street from Kathleen Middle school.
The tornado was 0.3 miles wide and its path stretched for nine miles, surveyors found.
A section of Kathleen Middle School's roof was blown off by the tornado, while nearby, an RV was blown atop a boat in a home's driveway.
"Thankfully, we have not had any reported serious injuries related to the 'long track' tornado that touched down in our unincorporated areas in northwest Polk County last night," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "However, there are many people dealing with damage to their homes and property this morning, some of it severe."
Winds also toppled trucks along Interstate 4 and the Polk Parkway late Friday. One tractor-trailer was flipped onto a car carrying a family from Illinois, but the Florida Highway Patrol says no one was hurt. The driver of a second toppled truck was taken to the hospital, though.