Sunday, February 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Storm system off Florida's east coast has good chance of becoming tropical depression

Forecasters are watching a patch of stormy weather off Florida's east coast that they believe has an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression over the next five days.

The low pressure system was about 230 miles east of St. Augustine on Sunday afternoon. The system was producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms and moving slowly south. Dry air to the north of the disturbance is expected to stunt development over the next day or so, but conditions more conducive to formation are expected later this week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane center said an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter may investigate the system today.

Though the disturbance is expected to meander off the Florida coast, forecast models have it eventually heading north.

The system contributed to the hot weather blanketing the Tampa Bay area this weekend by directing dry northern winds this way. In addition, a high-pressure system to the southwest blocked ocean breezes from cooling the area and pushed dry air down from the atmosphere.

"Normally by afternoon we would have clouds covering us and a possible storm," said meteorologist Paul Close of the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

Depending on where the system off St. Augustine goes, we could feel this warmer, dryer air for at least a couple more days, Close said.

In Tampa the high reached 96 on Sunday, just one degree below the record. The average high is 90.

Bay News 9 reported that high temperatures will stretch into the low to mid-90s today and Tuesday, with rain chances around 30 percent.

Rain chances will increase to about 50 percent later in the week.

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