A potentially strong storm system is expected to move into the Tampa Bay region this weekend, possibly bringing tornadoes, strong straight-line winds and large hail, meteorologists say.
An area of low pressure should develop across north-central Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, moving east to northeast across the Florida-Georgia state line until it moves into the Atlantic Ocean, said National Weather Service meteorologist Jon Jelsema. This will allow for a strong cold front to move through west-central and southwest Florida.
It's a favorable track for producing severe weather.
"We're expecting the worst will be Saturday night," he said.
A large portion of the southeast United States, including the entire state of Florida, could potentially face severe weather, he said.
Parts of Tampa Bay are forecast to see as much as 2.25 inches of rain on Saturday and Sunday.
Bay News 9 senior meteorologist Mike Clay cautioned against counting on predictions so far in advance.
"Much can change between now and then," he said. "It is very difficult for us to get everything to come together this time of year for severe weather; that's why April is normally dry. But this isn't an all-or-nothing type event. We will get some rain, thunderstorms and windy weather this weekend. The question is, will it be severe?"
The region should see a drop in humidity beginning on Monday with highs peaking in the 80s, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik.