Monday, May 28, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Forecasters keeping close watch on disturbance bringing rain to Tampa Bay

A dense mass of thunderstorms in the southern Gulf of Mexico appears more and more likely to develop into a tropical system over the weekend, and experts say it's hard to predict what it might do next.

With projections pointing the system every which way — from northwest toward Texas to the northeast across Florida — experts say it will take time to figure out what the trough might do.

No matter what, Florida will get buckets of rain.

Meteorologists have predicted up to 4 inches of rain for the Tampa Bay area through the weekend, while much of the rest of the state also will likely get a good dousing.

The National Hurricane Center said the broad area of low pressure over the south-central Gulf of Mexico was producing a line of storms stretching from the northwestern Caribbean to southern Florida.

The system has a 70 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone by Saturday, according to the NHC.

Strong wind shear in the region could prevent much strengthening.

But that could all change by Sunday.

Westerly winds are expected to die down, and the warm gulf water temperatures will encourage further development, experts said.

"It's a game of wait-and-see at this point," said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.

If the system were to turn into a tropical storm, it would become Debby, the fourth named storm of the season, which began June 1.

Some models show the system developing into a tropical storm and move it west toward Texas.

Others indicate that as the disturbance reaches waters off Florida's southwest coast this weekend, it could be dragged to the northeast by another low off the U.S. East Coast.

Under that scenario, the storm could be pulled across North Florida on Sunday and re-emerge off the coast of South Carolina by Monday.

Floridians need not panic, said Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist of Weather Underground.

"There won't be a lot of time for it to become strong," Masters said. "Even if all the conditions were right and it took a turn toward Florida, I would be really surprised if this were a hurricane by the time it's crossing the peninsula."

The Tampa Bay area has a 70 percent chance of rain today and about a 60 percent chance into the weekend, according to Bay News 9. Forecasters predict the downpours will come in waves.

Meanwhile, in the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Chris became the season's first hurricane, but was downgraded later Thursday to a tropical storm. Chris was moving northeast at 20 mph and is no threat to land.

Tampa Bay residents should not be surprised by all the early-season activity, said Bay News 9 chief meteorologist Mike Clay.

It's not unusual for June storms to form in the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea, he said. And the area has already had a close call.

"Beryl came very close to hitting us," Clay said. "We shouldn't ever be in any type of situation where people wait till the last minute to prepare."

Marissa Lang can be reached at [email protected].

Comments
Meteorologists are calling Alberto a 'subtropical storm.' What the heck is that?

Meteorologists are calling Alberto a 'subtropical storm.' What the heck is that?

The governor declared a state of emergency. Local marquee events for Sunday were canceled. The threat of bad weather brought by a subtropical storm named Alberto loomed over Tampa Bay for much of the weekend. But, in the end, the area dealt with on...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
A wet Memorial Day weekend continues as Alberto treks north

A wet Memorial Day weekend continues as Alberto treks north

Subtropical Storm Alberto continued its trek north-northeast overnight and is expected to make landfall in the northern Gulf Coast late Monday.The storm was about 85 miles north of the Dry Tortugas as of Sunday morning, producing winds up to 40 mph a...
Published: 05/27/18
Meet your unwelcome Memorial Day guest: Subtropical Storm Alberto

Meet your unwelcome Memorial Day guest: Subtropical Storm Alberto

It has a name.Subtropical Storm Alberto is crawling into the Gulf of Mexico, an unwelcome guest arriving a week before the official start of hurricane season.The system, which became the first named storm of the year Friday, could bring five inches o...
Published: 05/25/18
Alberto to dump rain on Cuba before turning north and drenching Tampa Bay

Alberto to dump rain on Cuba before turning north and drenching Tampa Bay

TAMPA— The first tropical system of the 2018 hurricane season has formed in the Caribbean and threatens to drench the Tampa Bay area with heavy rains and potential flooding over the Memorial Day weekend.As of 2 p.m., Subtropical Storm Alberto — which...
Published: 05/25/18
In the Caribbean, a storm is brewing that could wash out Memorial Day

In the Caribbean, a storm is brewing that could wash out Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a holiday that draws people outside. It was created to honor those who have died while serving in the nation’s armed forces and also marks the unofficial start of summer.This year, though, the family cookouts, beach excursions and roa...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18
NOAA: Scientists predict 10 to 16 named storms this hurricane season

NOAA: Scientists predict 10 to 16 named storms this hurricane season

Scientists are in consensus: The 2018 hurricane season could be an active one.On Thursday the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its 2018 Atlantic hurricane seasonal outlook. It’s calling for between 10 and 16 named storms, five...
Published: 05/24/18
Termite damage poses a threat as hurricane season approaches, study says

Termite damage poses a threat as hurricane season approaches, study says

The start of hurricane season is just days away, and Florida residents might want to add one more thing to their preparation list: a termite inspection.Termite damage in houses and trees can leave homes vulnerable to suffering even more damage during...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Get set for a rainy holiday weekend across Tampa Bay

Get set for a rainy holiday weekend across Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG -- After nine straight days of rain, the bay area received a much needed respite Wednesday — sunny skies and temperatures in the high 80s. Peter O’Neill, 50, enjoyed seeing the sun again as he sat in Thunder Alley outside ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Stock up for hurricanes, Buckhorn warns, or ‘we may be coming for you in a body bag’

TAMPA — Stuff that hurricane kit full of batteries, pen that emergency plan and get as many gallons of water stored in that garage while the skies are blue and clouds are fluffy white. That was the message Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other city off...
Published: 05/23/18
Forecast: Caribbean storm could grow into tropical system

Forecast: Caribbean storm could grow into tropical system

A storm system in the Caribbean Sea could grow into a tropical cyclone within five days, according to the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters give the system a 50 percent chance to develop. The storm’s low-pressure center on Tuesday was ne...
Published: 05/22/18