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Tornado damages buildings, vehicles; sandbags available to fight flooding

Daylight displays damage, storm's aftermath

Residents describe the aftermath of a suspected tornado that struck Manatee County late Saturday night.
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Residents describe the aftermath of a suspected tornado that struck Manatee County late Saturday night.

The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado packing winds of 70 miles per hour touched down briefly at 9:21 p.m. Saturday in the Samoset area, causing damage to buildings and vehicles and toppling trees in its path.

No injuries have been reported, authorities said.

The tornado, which was rated EF-0 on the Enhanced Fujita scale of tornado intensity (65 to 85 mph winds) came down out of an atmosphere so filled with heavy driving rain that radar did not reveal it until it was too late, said John McMichael, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

“We didn’t have a tornado warning because it was hard to detect with an atmosphere filled with water,” McMichael said. “It’s tough to see something on radar that comes down and goes right back up.”

The suspected tornado’s path was from the 2600 block of First Street to the 3000 block of 15th Street East, causing damage to numerous structures and toppling several trees and power lines, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and media reports.

Manatee County’s Eastside Fleet Maintenance facility was in the suspected twister’s path, sustaining damage to rooftops of maintenance buildings and offices, as well as damage to vehicles, the release said.

Lives wires were down at the maintenance facility, a worker there said.

Sheriff’s deputies and Manatee County Emergency Communications Center employees responded to the area to help those affected.

Florida Power & Light and Manatee County Public Works were at the site Sunday morning working on cleanup and power restoration, authorities said.

Saturday night, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Manatee and Sarasota counties with dangerous conditions reported on area roadways.

The Manatee County ECC has made sandbags available at five locations as of 11 a.m. Sunday:

▪  Buffalo Creek Park, 7550 69th St. E., Palmetto

▪  G.T. Bray Park, 5502 33rd Ave. Dr. W, Bradenton

▪  Lakewood Ranch Park, 5350 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton

▪  Stormwater Ops, 5511 39th St. E., Bradenton

▪  Rubonia Community Center, 1309 72nd St. E., Palmetto

The NWS has issued a flood watch that includes Manatee and Sarasota counties and continues through Sunday evening. Widespread showers with occasional embedded thunderstorms will be possible across the watch area, according to the NWS with, another 3 to 6 inches of rain possible.

Bay News 9 reported Sunday morning that more than 8 inches of rain fell in several areas of Manatee County, including East Manatee and Bradenton, and additional rainfall and exacerbated flooding conditions are expected during the day Sunday.

Florida Power & Light also reported that 3,000 customers had experienced outages Saturday night.

Emergency management officials Saturday night reported numerous stalled cars and water rescues in the warned area, along with some floating cars along State Road 70 near I-75.

The following areas areas were reported flooded Saturday night, and motorists were advised to avoid these roads, according to the sheriff’s office.

Intersections

Creekwood Boulevard/State Road 70 East

Lockwood Ridge Road/Honore Avenue

Tara Boulevard/Linger Lodge Road

State Road 64 East/Morgan Johnson Road

Whitfield Avenue/N. Tamiami Trail

Whitfield Avenue/U.S. 301

Communities

Palm Aire Community

Tara Community

Rosedale Country Club

River Club

Braden Woods

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