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Violent Cold Front Brings Hurricane Conditions and Tornadoes

Posted on Monday, April 13, 2009 at 5:00 PM MST

ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- The morning of April 14 started just like any other dreary, rainy day in Florida. I sat down in front of the TV for breakfast and turned on Bay News 9. Their meteorologists were tracking several severe thunderstorms across Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties.

Around 9:30 AM, reports came through that there were 2 confirmed tornadoes in Wesley Chapel, and 2 more just east of Dunedin. Due to a 10 AM class, I was unfortunately unable to chase either of those cells.

Around 2 PM, the very strong cold front ripped through south St. Pete. Frequent lightning and heavy rain came in ahead of the front, along with a large temperature drop with the front. On the back side of the front, there was a huge pressure gradient, which kicked the winds up out of the south to a sustained 35 knots by 2:45, and a sustained 60 knots by 3:30. Wind gusts averaged 75 knots, with a peak gust to 90 kts at Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg.

Back at my apartment around 3:40, I put on my foul weather gear, grabbed my waterproof camera, and headed for "The Point" as Carlton Arms, about a 5-minute walk from my apartment. The waves were crashing well over the sea wall, and flooded both the lawn and the parking lot behind it. Getting inundated with salt water was well worth it, as the pictures would indicate.

Posted In: Chase Recaps

Tagged: Cold Front, Hurricane, Tornado, Straight Line Winds, Memorable