ST. PETERSBURG — Forecasters said rain could fall on Monday before conditions cleared, leaving drier air and less humidity behind.
That rain moved through Ruskin with a vengeance Monday night, causing a tornado to touch down and producing a treacherous early-morning commute for residents in Sarasota and DeSoto counties.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, a powerful storm that moved through the Ruskin area around 10 p.m. brought high winds and a powerful downpour that damaged 10-15 homes at the Paradise Mobile Home Park, 2201 U.S. 41 S.
After initially reporting that the damage was caused by a "down burst" — a high-wind event that occurs when warmer air rises around a storm — forecasters with the National Weather Service later confirmed a brief EF0 tornado formed near the U.S. 41 bridge that cross the Little Manatee River in Ruskin.
The tornado, with winds between 65-85 mph, damaged roofs, carports and power lines, and downed some trees, deputies said. No injuries were reported.
Severe weather arose in DeSoto County early Tuesday morning, according to forecasters. Around 5:30 a.m., a thunderstorm brought lots of lightning, and the potential for wind gusts of 40 mph winds and small hail.
This is the result of a cold front that is passing through the region on Tuesday. Primarily inland areas could see lingering morning showers and a chance for stronger storms, but conditions will clear in the immediate Tampa Bay area throughout the day as the front sinks to the south, forecasters said.
Highs on Tuesday will hover near 80, and lows will drop into the upper 60s — but cooler to the north, and more comfortable as the drier air and light winds take hold.
Highs on Wednesday could climb to just above 80, with lower humidity and pleasant northwesterly breezes.
This pattern will continue through the week, with gradual warming heading into the weekend, forecasters said.
Times staff writer Devin Rodriguez contributed to this report.