Forecast: Look for a warm and sunny Thursday ahead of a stormy Friday in Tampa Bay

The sun will be out Thursday, but severe weather lurks just ahead.
Go to tampabay.com/weather for current conditions, live radar and extended forecast.
Go to tampabay.com/weather for current conditions, live radar and extended forecast.
Published April 18

It’s a literal calm before the storm.

Thursday’s weather is expected to continue the week’s trend of gradual warmth and dryness under mostly sunny skies. Highs will be in the upper 80s, with a slight chance of some isolated showers toward away from the coast this afternoon. Overall, a warm, but pleasant day with low humidity.

Hopefully, however, you haven’t gotten used to it. That all changes pretty quickly Friday, according to National Weather Service forecasters.

“Conditions are going to deteriorate tomorrow morning,” forecaster Rodney Wynn said. "We’re looking at pretty high rain chances starting in the late morning heading into evening hours, around 90-100 percent.”

A high-pressure system that’s been in place over Florida for much of the week moves out Thursday as a cold front makes its way east from near the Mississippi Valley. Forecasters said the front is pushing a strong system of storms ahead of it that’s expected to cover the entire Florida peninsula Friday.

Currently, the Weather Service has Tampa Bay under a slight risk of severe weather, meaning short-lived and intense storms, winds around 60 mph and the possibility of hail and tornadoes. Water spouts are also expected over coastal waters.

Wynn said the weather should turn during morning hours, with the bulk moving through between noon and 4 p.m. He said most of the heavy stuff should be gone by 7 p.m., but lingering showers could remain. The times could change by a few hours as storms approach, Wynn said, but have been consistent all week.

“Even though weather is nice today, winds are starting to pick up over the water,” Wynn said. “We’ll see some hazardous conditions ahead of this frontal system.”

Beach-goers and mariners should take caution ahead of the storm. There’s a high-wind advisory and high risk of rip currents along the shore and a small craft advisory for coastal waters today through Saturday.

There is some good news though.

After a few hours of potential meteorological mayhem, the front will pass by Saturday, setting up a cooler, dry weekend with highs in the mid-upper 70s.

More weather

EXTENDED FORECAST: The 10-day outlook for the Tampa Bay area

DOWNLOAD: Get the tbo Weather App and see where storms are headed

LIVE RADAR: Interactive storm track, hourly outlooks, 10-day forecasts and weather alerts

Contact Daniel Figueroa IV at dfigueroa@tampabay.com. Follow @danuscripts.

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