Thunderstorms on Wednesday dumped heavy rain that prompted flooding concerns and stoked powerful lightning strikes that caused several fires. More bad weather is possible today, but then drier conditions are expected move in. The weather pattern has been influenced by a peculiar cold front that has dipped into the South from Canada.
So what's the forecast?
There's a good probability this morning will be a lot like Wednesday, with a rain chance of about 40 percent. Most of the rain should move out by the afternoon and skies should turn partly sunny. Rain chances will diminish to 20 to 30 percent by Friday and over the weekend. Afternoon high temperatures will spike into the low to mid 90s. A more regular pattern with late-afternoon thunderstorms should take hold by Monday, according to Bay News 9.
What happened Wednesday?
Storms dumped 1.18 inches of rain in Tampa and two-thirds of an inch in St. Petersburg. Lightning also was suspected of causing three fires in the area, including a house fire in Holiday that killed two dogs and one in north Tampa in which eight apartments off University Club Drive caught fire. Officials deemed the units uninhabitable and the American Red Cross was called to assist residents. Lightning also caused a house fire in Clearwater. Forecasters issued a flood warning for the Little Manatee River.
What's causing this?
A rare July cold front plunged south from Canada this week, bringing record-low temperatures to the Midwest. The front stalled above Georgia and Alabama while a high-pressure system helped direct thunderstorms from the Gulf of Mexico to Tampa Bay. Though the cold front won't bring cool temperatures to our area (like cold fronts in the winter months tend to do), it could push drier air over us that will clip rain chances later this week.