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Storms dump up to 7 inches of rain in some areas around Tampa Bay; more on the way

Another round of severe weather pummeled the Tampa Bay area late Tuesday, dumping 7 inches of rain in South Pasadena and 4 inches in Pinellas Park, pelting the Temple Terrace area with nickel-sized hail and leaving thousands of homes without power.

More than 7,000 households were left without power in Pinellas County over the course of the storm, according to Progress Energy.

In St. Petersburg, officials said, about 1,900 people lost power around 6 p.m., as the thunderstorms worsened. Crews were dispatched to battle lightning, whipping winds and falling tree limbs throughout the night.

All customers had their power back on by 8 p.m., officials said.

The late Tuesday thunderstorms were caused by a stalled front across the northern gulf and northern Florida that is pulling deep moisture into the gulf and into the Tampa Bay area, according to the National Weather Service.

This caused widespread flooding throughout the region, stranding numerous vehicles and making some intersections impassable. Most were clear by Wednesday morning.

But more severe thunderstorms are on the way, forecasters said.

Flood watches were posted in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties, and river flood warnings were in effect Wednesday morning for the Manatee and Myakka rivers and Cypress Creek, weather experts said.

In Pasco, Cypress Creek at Worthington Gardens was expected to reach minor flooding by Wednesday evening.

A 70 percent chance of rain was forecast for the Tampa Bay area again Wednesday, with storms expected by the afternoon.

"Even though it's dry this morning in most areas," Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez said early Wednesday, "there's already some showers, a couple of thunderstorms developing in the gulf."

The stormy weather should begin to diminish on Thursday with a 50 percent chance of rain. By Friday, the chance of rain was expected to decline to about 30 percent.

Temperatures were also expected to rise by Friday to the low to mid 90s, Marquez said.

Storms dump up to 7 inches of rain in some areas around Tampa Bay; more on the way 08/22/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 2:56pm]
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