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Storm system headed to Tampa Bay could pack tornadoes, high winds

A broad system of severe weather heading for the Tampa Bay area could bring tornadoes, wind gusts of 60 mph and the likelihood of heavy thunderstorms.

"This is not your typical cold front with showers,'' said Ernie Jillson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

Part of a broader system sweeping across the South, the first signs of rough weather could arrive by 2 p.m. today, with scattered thunderstorms.

"Even some of them could become severe,'' Jillson said.

By late afternoon or early evening, the worst of it should be closing in on the Tampa Bay area.

"This is a surprisingly strong storm system,'' said meteorologist Josh Linker of Bay News 9.

Forecasters say the exact timing is difficult, but the primary threats will be wind damage and tornadoes.

The system also is expected to produce a couple of inches of rain in several locations.

"This is a fairly wet system,'' Jillson said.

By Wednesday the foul weather should be gone, replaced by drier and cooler air, though not as cold as recent cold fronts.

Storm system headed to Tampa Bay could pack tornadoes, high winds 01/24/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 3:27pm]
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