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More rain is on its way for Tampa Bay area

Despite record-breaking rainfall and more showers projected this week, Tampa Bay isn't likely to escape drought conditions any time soon.

But, "It's a good sign," said Logan Johnson, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "It's a very promising start to the wetter time of the year."

The region saw anywhere from 2.5 to more than 5 inches of rain Monday — more rain than many locations may see in all of March.

St. Leo in Pasco County had 5.30 inches, besting the record of 4.30 set in 1930; Brooksville in Hernando County had 3.80, breaking a record of 2.70 also set in 1930; Tampa had 3.61 inches; and St. Petersburg had 2.43 inches.

"This is extremely beneficial in helping us have sufficient water supplies to get to the summer rainy season," said Robyn Felix, spokeswoman for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, or Swiftmud, which oversees a 16-county area that includes the Tampa Bay region.

After Monday's heavy rains, Tampa is about 4.5 inches above normal for the year, while St. Petersburg is still about 2.25 inches below normal.

On Tuesday, Swiftmud opted to keep a "Phase I" water shortage in place. The designation, which has been in place since December, mostly serves as a warning to local governments to be prepared. Swiftmud likely won't ease restrictions with two of the driest months remaining, Felix said.

"I think this would go a long way toward limiting the chances of having to tighten restrictions further," Felix said.

Monday's storm brought the first significant rain in 17 days.

Today brings a 30 percent chance of rain before the likelihood of showers jumps up again Thursday when a cold front sweeps through the area, according to Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez.

The area is supposed to dry out again Friday, she said.

The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center forecasts another 2 inches or so of rain in Tampa Bay through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

More rain is on its way for Tampa Bay area 03/29/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:08am]

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