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Heavy rain, wind headed to Tampa Bay as tropical system off Mexico strengthens

The Tampa Bay area faces heavy rain and windy weather beginning Monday because of a strengthening system off the coast of Mexico, according to meteorologists.

The large low pressure system off the Yucatan Peninsula has a 60 percent chance of developing into Rina, the 17th named storm of the year, according to the National Hurricane Center. The system was producing tropical storm strength winds in the Yucatan Channel, over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and the western Florida Straits.

Still, the chances of the system coming to the bay area as a tropical storm this week remained uncertain.

What is certain: Lots of rain.

Large amounts of moisture will move north over Florida and arrive in the Tampa Bay area early Monday afternoon, according to John McMichael, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The region could see 2 to 4 inches, strong gusty winds and high seas, he said. Winds were forecast to be 20 to 25 knots over the water and about 15 to 20 miles per hour over land.

"We're looking at a tremendous amount of moisture working its way northward," McMichael said.

Bay News 9 predicted a 40 percent chance of rain Monday and 90 percent on Tuesday before dropping to 60 percent on Wednesday.

Weather Underground Inc. | Updates on this storm

Heavy rain, wind headed to Tampa Bay as tropical system off Mexico strengthens 10/17/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 17, 2011 9:59am]
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