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Much-needed rain hits Tampa Bay area as Hurricane Center monitors storm

Part of a low-pressure system that the National Hurricane Center is monitoring passed over Tampa Bay on Wednesday afternoon, giving the area a much-needed soaking.

Gusts of up to 40 mph were reported around Tampa Bay as a band of thunderstorms passed through at about 35 mph, according to Mike Clay, Bay News 9 chief meteorologist. Minor tree damage also was reported. He said the storm wasn't producing much rain because of how fast it was moving.

The thunderstorms should be gone from the area by about 5 p.m., giving way to dry conditions.

As if to remind Florida that it is the first day of hurricane season, the Hurricane Center reported that there was a 20 percent, or low, chance the system will develop into a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours after crossing the state and entering the Gulf of Mexico.

"Odds lean toward it not developing, as opposed to it developing," said NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen. "But we're keeping an eye on it."

Clay called the system "a strange weather phenomenon."

It started in the Midwest, he pointed out, before circling clockwise through the Atlantic Ocean and into Florida.

"It's just a weird weather feature," he said. "It's so small and it's held together so well. It's fascinating."

Of more concern to South Florida, some showers and thunderstorms formed over the warm waters of the southwest Caribbean Sea, but those storms remain disorganized and do not pose any major threats.

For more information on Atlantic storm activity, go to http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Much-needed rain hits Tampa Bay area as Hurricane Center monitors storm 06/01/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 2:23pm]
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