Wet week gives way to drier Fourth of July weekend

Cloudy weather with intermittent rain blankets Clearwater Beach on Thursday afternoon.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Cloudy weather with intermittent rain blankets Clearwater Beach on Thursday afternoon.

Soggy conditions throughout the Tampa Bay area this week may clear up just in time for Independence Day fireworks and barbecue celebrations, forecasters said.

Drier air moving into the area over the weekend from the north will bring more sunshine and less rain, which fell heavy on much of the area throughout the week, according to the National Weather Service.

But that doesn't mean area residents shouldn't keep their eyes on the sky.

"Every year we have to watch for storms popping up during firework activities or during other outdoor Fourth of July events," said Juli Marquez, Bay News 9 meteorologist.

There's still a chance of rain — Saturday and Monday both have a 40 percent chance of showers, with a 30 percent chance on Sunday. But the storms are likely to hit in the afternoon and evening and will be scattered and short-lived, Marquez said.

Because increased sunshine and less rain means higher temperatures, the bay area can expect high temperatures in the mid 90s over the holiday weekend.

Despite a rainy final week, average rainfall in June remained below average, with 5.18 inches logged in Tampa and 3.34 inches recorded in St. Petersburg. Tampa and St. Petersburg usually see 5.5 and 6.09 inches, respectively.

June's last week made up much of the final count, according to the National Weather Service, with 2.75 inches of rain falling over St. Petersburg and 2.94 inches in Tampa.

After the weekend's brief reprieve, conditions will likely get wetter again in the first week of July, meteorologists said.

Wet week gives way to drier Fourth of July weekend 07/01/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 1, 2011 2:55pm]

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