Weather alert: Bradenton, Sarasota, rest of Tampa Bay under tornado watch until 3 p.m.

February 26, 2013 

MANATEE -- Manatee and Sarasota counties, as well as the rest of the Tampa Bay region, are under a tornado watch until 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

A line of showers and thunderstorms associated with a cold front will cross the area from the northwest. Some of the storms could be severe, especially in northern reaches of the region along the Nature Coast. The storms will weaken as they move south, according to the Weather Service.

Showers and a few storms reached Citrus County just before 7 a.m., and a gust of 91 mph was reported near Cedar Key, according to Bay News 9. There are also reports of tree limbs being down and wind damage around Cedar Key, although most of the county was only getting showers at 9 a.m.

In Bradenton, there were heavy rains but no reports of damage. The rain did force the cancellation of a Pittsburgh Pirates exhibition game at McKechnie Field.

A tornado watch is issued when weather conditions have created a significant risk of a tornado occurring. As of 2:30 p.m,. a.m., eight counties were covered by the current watch, including Manatee, Sarasota, Polk, Hardee, DeSoto and Charlotte.

In Bradenton, the chance of rain Tuesday is listed at 70 percent.

Otherwise, skies will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 78, with southerly winds of 16 to 22 mph becoming west-southwesterly in the afternoon. Gusts could reach 30 mph.

Tuesday night, the chance of showers before 1 a.m. drops to 20 percent. Skies will be partly cloudy, with a low around 61 and winds of 7 to 11 mph.

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