Pair of tornadoes cause $1 million in damages in Winter Haven, Bradenton

Tampa NWS surveyors confirm tornadoes touched down over the weekend

Strong storms caused damage in Polk County on April 11, 2021. (Polk County Sheriff's Office)

TAMPA, Fla. – Storm surveyors with the National Weather Service in Tampa confirmed two tornadoes caused millions in damages over the weekend.

Rounds of severe weather moved in from the Gulf of Mexico as a cold front inched closer to Florida, pushing the wild weather onshore.

Damaging storms caused quite a bit of damage in Bradenton and Winter Haven Saturday and Sunday. Two tornadoes were confirmed with over $1 million in damages. (NWS)

Saturday evening, the first confirmed tornado ripped through Bradenton. Dozens of homes were damaged as the tornado moved southeast through west Bayshore Gardens for a half mile.

The worst damage was to a five-unit townhome where 95 mph winds ripped off the roof.

NWS Tampa Bay Bradenton storm survey from April 10, 2021 shows damages to a five unit townhome. (NWS)

Over $1 million in damages are estimated as a result of the EF-1 rated tornado. One woman was injured by falling debris inside the home. No other injuries were reported.

Trees came crashing down on roofs near Spirit Lake and Eagle Lake shortly after noon on Sunday. The EF-0 rated tornado took down numerous trees in Winter Haven for almost a mile and a half.

Preliminary findings after survey of damage that happened in Winter Haven Sunday evening. (NWS)

Although this tornado was short-lived, lasting about a minute, the swath of storms that passed by that afternoon and evening triggered numerous warnings. Pea to quarter-sized hail was reported along with several downed trees. Power lines fell resulting in the death of a 17-year old who was electrocuted after stepping on a live wire following a crash.

Several rainfall records were broken Sunday. Heavy storms dumped more than 2 inches of rain in Ft. Myers, shattering the 110-year rainfall record.

NWS Tweet showing rainfall record in Ft. Myers broken after holding the record for that day for 110 years. (NWS)

The National Weather Service office tweeted Monday that three other cities have new rainfall records, including in Lakeland where 2.4 inches of water was measured in the gauge.

Four cities reported new rainfall records Sunday April 11th, 2021. (NWS)

Storms continued to move east into Orlando and surrounding cities all the way to the coast, dumping quite a bit of hail in some neighborhoods on Sunday.

Parts of Orange and Seminole counties saw pea to golf ball-sized hail hitting cars and accumulating in yards.

Despite hours of soggy weather Sunday, the rain east of the Tampa area didn’t break records, but brought a little relief to the abnormally dry area. Most of east Central Florida still needs 2-5 inches of rain just to be normal values for this time of year.

About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.