Early morning storms leave path of damage from Tampa Bay into north Florida. No injuries reported

Oct 12, 2023, 4:58 AM

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — A storm system that moved across parts of Florida early Thursday left a path of damage to cars, houses and businesses, authorities said.

Police in Clearwater, which is on Florida’s Gulf Coast near Tampa, said in a social media post that no injuries were reported when two possible tornadoes touched down around 2 a.m. Thursday. Photos shared by the agency showed gutters from a home that pierced the windshield of a car.

The storms moved north into Citrus County, where officials canceled public school classes for the day.

“The west side of Citrus County has experienced significant damage from an unconfirmed tornado(s) which hit the area overnight,” school officials said in a Facebook post shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday.

Deputies were directing traffic Thursday morning due to multiple road closures caused by the storm, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office said on social media. A portion of U.S Highway 19, which is a major thoroughfare through the mostly rural county, was closed due to storm damage.

Photos posted by the sheriff’s office showed debris on roads, local flooding and damage to mobile homes.

The damage wasn’t limited to the Gulf Coast side of Florida. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said a tornado was reported Thursday morning in a section of Palm Coast, which is some 60 miles (97 kilometers) south of Jacksonville, on the state’s Atlantic Coast.

There were no injuries reported, “however, there is some significant damage in the area,” the sheriff’s office said on social media without providing additional details.

“Please use caution in the area,” the Flagler Sheriff’s Office said.

Some tornado watches remained in effect Thursday morning across parts of central and north Florida.

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Early morning storms leave path of damage from Tampa Bay into north Florida. No injuries reported