Nearly 10,000 customers were left without power, vehicles were turned over and a middle school was severely damaged after a tornado touched down in central Florida on Friday night, as rain and high winds from Tropical Storm Nestor battered the state.
The tornado touched down in Kathleen and Polk County east of Tampa where there were reports of an overturned 18-wheeler on Interstate 4, causing traffic to be backed up for hours. A driver of a second toppled truck was taken to the hospital, according to Fox 13.
It also produced significant damage to Kathleen Middle School, which had its roof partially ripped off, according to Bay News 9 in Tampa.
Shingles, pieces of roofing and bricks covered the lawn and sidewalks around the middle school early on Saturday, with trees nearby reportedly blown over.
There's no word yet on the estimated damage to the school, according to WFLA. Down the street, homes were damaged and an RV was seen blown on top of a boat in a driveway.
No injuries were immediately reported.
A local resident, who received word of the tropical storm from her nephew, described the aftermath once Nestor passed by.
“After it was over, didn’t last about five minutes and after we looked out the door, my daughter she said ‘oh my lord,’ she says ‘I ain’t got no truck no more, it’s gone,'” Martha Finley told WFLA.
Several homes in Pinellas County were damaged by the tornado as well, according to the outlet. Lakeland Electric reported nearly 10,000 customers without power due to 46 outages in the area.
A Tornado Watch has been issued until noon Saturday for Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk counties, News 9 reported.
Nestor developed in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday and is expected to strengthen as it comes ashore along the northern Gulf Coast Saturday with winds up to 60 mph, The Orlando Sentinel reported.