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Updates: Parts of Southwest Florida under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 9pm Thursday

Posted: 8:17 AM, Dec 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-20 15:51:14-05
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UPDATE (3 PM): Blind Pass Park on Sanibel and Turner Beach Park on Captiva have been closed due to water in the parking lots. Nearby Sanibel-Captiva road remains open, but there is evidence that water has passed over the road. Officials are monitoring the situation.

Earlier Thursday, a large wave washed ashore in the area.
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UPDATE (2:35 PM): The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 9pm Thursday for much of southern Florida. This includes Collier, Hendry, and Glades counties, as well as Monroe County up to Brevard County on the east coast.

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UPDATE (1:30 PM): The National Weather Service in Tampa Bay reports a wind gust of 53 MPH at SW Florida International Airport at 12:30pm, and then a 49 MPH gust was recorded in Fort Myers at 12:58pm off MLK Boulevard.

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UPDATE (9:38 AM): A dopler-indicated tornado has been detected east of Venice, Florida. A Tornado Warning has been enacted in parts of Saarasota and DeSoto County.

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The National Weather Service storm prediction center in Norman, Oklahoma has issued a tornado watch is in effect until 4:00 pm EST for the following locations:

-Coastal waters from Chokoloskee to Tarpon Springs out to 20 nautical miles
-Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound
-Coastal waters from Flagler Beach to Sebastian Inlet out to 20 nautical miles
-Lake Okeechobee
-Tampa Bay waters