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Tornado reportedly touched ground in Polk County Friday night, National Weather Service says

Posted: 3:17 PM, Oct 19, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-19 15:17:46-04
Tornado has reportedly touched ground in Polk County, National Weather Service says
Tornado has reportedly touched ground in Polk County, National Weather Service says
Tornado has reportedly touched ground in Polk County, National Weather Service says
Tornado has reportedly touched ground in Polk County, National Weather Service says

At least two tornadoes were reported in the Tampa Bay area on Friday night and into early Saturday morning from Tropical Storm Nestor, which is now a post-tropical cyclone.

Shortly after 11 p.m. on Friday, the National Weather Service said a tornado was moving towards Kathleen, Florida in Polk County. The sheriff's office confirmed on Saturday morning that an apparent tornado touched down in the west/northwest part of the county.

The sheriff's office says the tornado initially touched down near Lakeland Linder Airport, before it continued north/northeast. They say it stretched as far as Tom Bryant Lane.

Authorities say they received dozens of reports of damage in several areas, including the New and Old Tampa Highway corridors and Timber Ridge north, south, east and west areas. Powers lines and trees are reported down near Mt. Tabor Road and the surrounding area, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies say no serious injuries have been reported as of 9:30 a.m.

"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," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. "However, there are many people dealing with damage to their homes and property this morning, some of it severe. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers, and if there is anything you can do to help your friends and neighbors, do it. We still have lots of rain, and the possibility of more severe weather today, so be careful! Please drive safely!"

At this time, the sheriff's office says the following roads in the county are either closed or there is restricted traffic:

  • New Tampa Hwy/Hibiscus Pkwy E.
  • Clark Rd/New Tampa Hwy.
  • Walker Rd/Swindell Rd.
  • Bella Vista St W/Galloway Rd N.
  • Bella Vista St W/Sutton Rd.
  • Swindell Rd E of Kirkland
  • Publix Rd/Mt. Tabor Rd.

Significant damage was seen throughout Kathleen, including major damage to the roof of Kathleen Middle School.

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2019 STORM NAMES

Andrea Lorenzo
Barry Melissa
Chantal Nestor
Dorian Olga
Erin Pablo
Fernand Rebekah
Gabrielle Sebastien
Humberto Tanya
Imelda Van
Jerry Wendy
Karen


HURRICANE TERMS TO KNOW

Tropical Storm WATCH: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.

Tropical Storm WARNING: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.

Hurricane WATCH: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Hurricane WARNING: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.