A large low pressure system in the Western Caribbean could bring heavy rain to the Tampa Bay area this week, forecasters said.
A worst-case scenario calls for weather approaching tropical storm strength, but meteorologists consider that unlikely.
It all will hinge on where a cold front now creeping to the south finally comes to a stop. The front will pull some of the system in the Caribbean to the north, but it's expected to dip far enough south to prevent tropical weather in the Tampa Bay area.
At this time of year, it's not uncommon for tropical systems to merge with cold fronts, said National Weather Service meteorologist Anthony Reynes.
But meteorologists expect the front to stall in the middle of the state, keeping the worst weather south of the Tampa Bay area.
"Right now, the evidence strongly suggests this front should make it to central Florida by late Tuesday or Wednesday," Reynes said.
Experts expect the low pressure system to become better organized, cut across South Florida and head into the Atlantic.
"It's just kind of a swathy system," said meteorologist Mike Clay of BayNews 9. "It will be kind of windy on the east coast.
However, if the cold front stalls north of the Tampa Bay area, "that changes the scenario. Then this low could get a little closer to our area," Reynes said.
"The only way it would be more significant would be if (the low-pressure system in the Caribbean) came into the Gulf," said Clay. "That would bring heavy rain and high wind.
"The greater chance is that it will kind of skirt across South Florida. If that happens, we'll be on the drier side."
BayNews 9 predicts a 60 percent chance of rain Tuesday and 40 percent on Wednesday.