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Heavy rains expected this weekend as hybrid storm threatens

After lovely autumn weather last weekend, this one is going to feel like a drag.

Forecasters expect on-and-off heavy rains and high winds throughout the weekend and into early next week, which could put a damper on outdoor plans.

"Looks like it'll last through Sunday," said Bay News 9 meteorologist Mike Clay. "And then it'll dry out through the week, but that chance of rain won't completely go away."

Boaters, in particular, should stay off the water this weekend, meteorologists warn. Strong wind gusts could reach up to 25 mph, and heavy rains are expected to pour up to 7 inches on Florida's east coast and up to 3 inches in the Tampa Bay area.

Forecasters said a high-pressure system that has kept the area dry for most of the week has moved out of the area. In the meantime, a low-pressure system in the Caribbean will bring severe rainstorms as it moves north over Florida.

The storm will not necessarily be "tropical" in nature, according to the National Hurricane Center, but it could become a subtropical system — a cross between a rainstorm and a tropical storm.

A tropical system is created and sustained from warm ocean waters, and it forms around a center of low pressure.

Subtropical systems often include characteristics of tropical storms but tend to get their energy from massive weather fronts moving through a region. They also are more amorphous in shape.

"I don't think this Caribbean system moving up is going to develop into a tropical storm," Clay said.

"But it's not 100 percent they won't try to name it. They tend to do that when it's over the water."

If this is the case, because subtropical storms are also named, this system could become Rina.

Heavy rains expected this weekend as hybrid storm threatens 10/07/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 1:32pm]
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