Photo of damage from the storm that hit New Tampa on June 4 provided by Shannon Briones.

When the 2023 hurricane season officially kicked off in Florida on June 1, the residents of New Tampa and Wesley Chapel had no idea how long it would be before — or even if — a major named storm would roll through our area.

But, on June 4, although the storm had no name and was essentially localized in our area and just to the east of our communities, residents in Hunter’s Green, Cross Creek and Heritage Isles all reported major damage from 60+ mph winds, heavy rain and even hail that blew through our area.

Source: Luis Viera on Facebook

After Tampa City Councilman and Hunter’s Green resident Luis Viera (Photo, left) posted a video of the damage the storm caused in his community, a number of New Tampa residents responded to our request on our Facebook page for photos of the storm damage. 

So, if you think just because we’ve gotten lucky in years past that our area will never be evacuated and will always escape major damage this hurricane season check out the incredible reader-provided pictures.

Uprooted trees, 60 mph winds, accumulations of hail, relatively brief, but heavy rains, named storms and possible tornadic activity isn’t unusual anywhere in Florida once hurricane season begins on June 1 each year, but on June 4 of this year, the New Tampa area got pounded by such a storm that was too brief and didn’t originate over water to be given an A-Z moniker.

Even so, the no-name storm that was pretty much localized to New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Lutz, Land O’Lakes, San Antonio and Zephyrhills that day did lots of damage and definitely made folks in our area recognize that hurricane season had indeed begun.

Photo above provided by Luis Viera on Facebook

During the storm, which took place as District 7 Tampa City Councilman Luis Viera was returning to his home in Hunter’s Green, dozens of tree limbs were knocked down in not only Viera’s home community, but also in Cross Creek, Heritage Isles and Cory Lake Isles. Viera, seeing just a small portion of the devastation, took to his Facebook page to tell people to keep an eye out for downed power lines, trees that had actually hit homes and any other major damage that would result in the need for fire rescue officials to visit and lend their usual helping hand.

“I’ve never seen anything like that here,” Viera said afterward. “It was just so quick and powerful and I feel very fortunate that, as far as I know, no one was hurt or killed.”

Viera also said that he did see some people working together to try to lift a downed tree and firefighters from Tampa Fire Rescue Station Nos. 21, 23 and 24 were definitely called out or at least on alert throughout the storm. 

Once I saw Viera’s plea online, I made one of my own, asking our Facebook followers to share photos of the damage they saw and several of them responded with the impressive photos on these pages. 

Some asked that we not use their names in the story that I said I would write for this issue. Others didn’t mind either way, so only those photographers will be identified. I do, however, want to thank everyone who contributed.

Hopefully, more of us will take this year’s hurricane season a little more seriously. Get your preparedness kit together now and please evacuate in the unlikely event you are told to do so.

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