Deep moisture moving in from the Caribbean

Forecasters are predicting up to 4 inches of rain in the next few days as a major weather system moves through the Tampa Bay area.

Unlike short-lived summer storms pushed inland by the sea breeze, deep moisture rolling up from the western Caribbean Sea appears poised to drop 2 to 4 inches of rain over the Tampa Bay region, with the heaviest rainfall occurring over coastal areas, forecasters said.

"It's going to be a wet June," said National Weather Service forecaster Ernie Jillson. "Certainly helps to ease the drought a little."

Forecasters said the weather has a 30 percent chance of turning into a tropical system.

Parts of the Tampa Bay area will see more rain this month than they have in the previous five, experts said.

Through May, Tampa had seen just about 7 inches of rainfall for the year.

This month, 7.9 inches of rain has been recorded.

Northern counties have been similarly soaked. Brooksville has seen nearly 6.5 inches of rain in June, according to the weather service.

But St. Petersburg has had only about 3.5 inches. That could change over the next five days, experts said.

The Tampa Bay area usually receives about 6.5 inches of rain in June.

Forecasters predict a 70 percent chance of rain today and about a 60 percent chance into the weekend, Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez said.

The rain will come in waves.

"It won't be constant, raining all the time," Jillson said. "It will come and go — in spurts — all the way through the weekend."

As the moisture moved into Key West early Wednesday, the area was drenched with 3 inches of rain in just a few hours.

Deep moisture moving in from the Caribbean 06/20/12 [Last modified: Thursday, June 21, 2012 1:04am]

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