Manatee, Sarasota and 10 other Florida counties are under a tornado watch, according to the National Weather Service.
The watch was issued at 12:30 p.m. Monday, and is set to expire at 8 p.m.
It covers Manatee, Sarasota, Hillsborough, Pinellas and several other counties in the Tampa Bay region and central Florida.
Just before 3:30 p.m. Monday, National Weather Service meteorologists detected a line of thunderstorms located along a line extending from Davenport to Alafia River State Park to Lakewood Ranch. It was moving east at 45 mph.
The tornado watch comes as an approaching cold front is set to bring the coldest temperatures of the year thus far.
According to Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez, the Florida panhandle has seen several tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings Monday morning, including an apparent tornado touched down at a state prison near Blountstown, slightly injuring two people and damaging a number of vehicles.
Marquez said the Bay area has a slight risk of severe thunderstorms today, including the potential for some locally heavy rain.
"That colder air is diving southward," Marquez said. "And we have a lot of moisture moving this way that will allow for more clouds and showers and storms."
The cold front will come through the Bay area Monday night. It will become windy and much colder. The coldest air of the season is expected by Tuesday when Bay area temperatures could stay in the 50s all day.
On Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, a hard freeze watch will be in effect for Citrus County. A freeze watch will be in effect for Hernando County.
Temperatures in these two counties could drop to the upper 20s to low 30s for several hours. For the immediate Bay area, temperatures will be in the mid 30s to low 40s, depending on cloud cover and wind speed.
A tornado watch is issued when weather conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms that are capable of producing tornadoes.
Bay News 9 contributed to this report.