Following a dry spell earlier this week, storm activity in the tropics is bringing heavy weather to Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay area is starting to feel the effects of a tropical wave that just passed over the Yucatan Peninsula into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.
As the Caribbean storm moves further into the Gulf of Mexico, strong southwesterly winds and at least a 50 percent chance of heavy rain are expected around Tampa Bay throughout the weekend. This morning, several areas have already experienced showers, lightning strikes and winds as high as 20 mph along the coast.
The thunderstorms, which are traveling northeast, are expected to increase as the day goes on, and wind gusts higher than 30 mph will be possible.
The tropical wave lost some momentum when it hit land at the Yucatan Peninsula, and its thunderstorms are currently disorganized, National Hurricane Center meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said. But there's still a 50 percent chance that it will develop into a cyclone by Sunday morning.
"It might get its act together over the Gulf of Mexico," Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez said.
If the storm travels west or west-northwest, it's more likely to become a named tropical storm than it would if it travels north, where it would hit areas of wind shear and less favorable conditions, Feltgen said.