In the early hours of Thursday morning, a substantial waterspout was observed near Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach, as powerful storms advanced inland from the Gulf of Mexico.
Mike Scantlin captured a video from the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, displaying the waterspout’s movement over the water before disappearing from view at approximately 1:45 a.m.
Subsequently, the waterspout transitioned to a tornado as it reached the shore. This led to damage to numerous homes and the scattering of debris in the vicinity of Eldorado Avenue and Bay Esplanade.
Additional images and footage depicted what appears to be the tornado, discernible by its distinctive funnel shape, in the Clearwater Beach area.
Meteorologists issued a caution regarding the potential for destructive winds and sporadic tornadoes persisting through the night.
From late Wednesday evening, storms along and in proximity to a frontal boundary displayed indications of intensification and rotation.
While a significant portion of the threat has diminished, a tornado watch remains in place until 3 p.m. for a wide area encompassing much of Tampa Bay and its northern environs.
This is a developing story that will be updated when more information is available.