Hurricane season has begun early this year, as New Tampa and Wesley Chapel residents definitely now know, following a recent afternoon without power, which was restored in about two hours.

Strong thunderstorms from Subtropical Storm Beryl dumped heavy rains and left more than 2,500 Tampa Electric Company (TECO) customers without power on May 29.

After a day of downpours, the weight of a large bird’s nest became more than it could hold. The nest, home to either a hawk or an osprey, fell onto a power line along Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. and knocked out power to thousands of New Tampa and Wesley Chapel residences and businesses for several hours.

According to TECO, the outage was first reported at 3:48 p.m. The temporary blackout caused problems not only for those at home or at work, but also for drivers, as traffic lights along Cross Creek Blvd. from Morris Bridge Rd. to BBD and north along BBD from Cross Creek Blvd. to County Line Rd. sat powerless or flashed a cautionary yellow until power was restored.

The Tampa Police Department (TPD) dispatched several officers to help keep traffic flowing.

As a result of the power outages, everal businesses along BBD had to turn customers away, including the busy Walmart Supercenter located at the intersection of BBD and Regents Park Dr.

TECO spokesperson Cherie Jacobs says that power was restored to some customers within as little as 30 minutes, but some had to wait as long as two hours. — MW

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