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Storm damages homes on Florida’s Gulf Coast

Manatee County Public Safety Department shared this photo after a storm Saturday.
Manatee County Public Safety Department shared this photo after a storm Saturday. (Manatee County Public Safety Department)

BRADENTON, Fla. – A 17-year-old girl died Sunday during a strong storm that swept through central Florida, damaging homes and businesses.

The woman was driving in Spring Hill, north of Tampa, when her car struck a downed power line, the Florida Highway Patrol said. The girl stopped and the car caught fire. She climbed out of the car and stepped on the power line, electrocuting her. Her name has not been released.

The storm brought heavy rain, strong winds, hail and lightning to wide areas of the state. Up to 2 inches of rain were reported in some areas, causing street flooding.

In Mount Dora, a home sustained severed damage when it caught fire after being struck by lightning, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Some neighborhoods near Orlando reported golf ball-sized hail.

In Lakeland, a hotel's roof sustained damage when it was partly ripped off by high winds. In Palm Harbor, north of Tampa, a bar's roof was damaged by winds.

The storm capped a weekend of damaging weather throughout the state.

A Saturday storm damaged about 20 homes on Florida's Gulf Coast and injured one person, officials said.

Manatee County Public Safety said the homes were damaged by straight-line winds Saturday afternoon and not a tornado, according to the Bradenton Herald. The wind's strength was not immediately known.

Five homes sustained major roof damage and one person suffered minor injuries, the National Weather Service said.

Earlier Saturday, possible tornadoes caused damage in the Panhandle.

In Panama City Beach, a home and convenience store were leveled by a possible tornado, city officials said in a Facebook post. A resident’s photo posted by The Panama City News Herald shows the store’s roof and walls ripped away, but its counters, shelves and the merchandise they held appear untouched. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

In Pensacola, the roof of a downtown brewery was ripped off by the storm, local news reports show. The National Weather Service has not confirmed if that was caused by a tornado, but reported winds of up to 60 mph (95 kpm).