Tampa Bay area ready to dry out for the weekend

Art Benton of St. Petersburg watches for fish at North Shore Park on Friday. “This is the kind of weather the fish will run in,” Benton said. “The nastier the weather, the better the fishing.”

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times

Art Benton of St. Petersburg watches for fish at North Shore Park on Friday. “This is the kind of weather the fish will run in,” Benton said. “The nastier the weather, the better the fishing.”

After two days of heavy showers and gusty winds, Tampa Bay residents can expect a cool but dry weekend, weather officials said.

Temperatures are expected to reach the low 70s for much of the region today.

"We're not looking at any rain this weekend," said Colleen Rhea, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Ruskin. "People will be happy with that."

The reprieve comes on the heels of Thursday and Friday's blast of rainy weather, which caused tornado touchdowns and severe thunderstorms.

Some areas picked up several inches of rain, including 5.1 inches in Odessa and nearly 4 inches in New Port Richey, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Brian McClure.

Tampa got 2.18 inches of rain, he said, and St. Petersburg 2.33 inches. Brooksville and Spring Hill also got between 2 and 3 inches of rain, he said.

"To get that kind of rainfall in one to two days is pretty significant," McClure said.

In Polk County, which recorded two tornadoes Thursday afternoon, officials were still assessing the damage.

Nearly 30 units at a golf and tennis resort near Haines City also were damaged by the severe weather.

Mobile homes were damaged in Zephyrhills, trees were downed in Citrus County, and three-quarter-inch hail fell on Florida's Atlantic Coast.

No injuries were reported.

A cold front that settled in Friday night should provide for more breezy conditions this weekend, weather officials said, with highs remaining in the 60s and 70s through Sunday and lows expected in the 50s.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay area ready to dry out for the weekend 03/12/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 12, 2010 10:17pm]

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