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Dry April may end on a wet note

An unusually dry April likely will go out with a bang tonight.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected to arrive tonight and linger through Saturday.

Forecasters predict a 40 percent chance of rain this afternoon, rising to 60 percent tonight and 70 percent Friday.

The storms will result from a collision of easterly winds bringing moisture from the Atlantic and cooler air sweeping in from the Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

Forecasters predict a chance of rain Saturday, but probably not on Sunday or Monday.

"The cold front will be moving over us by Friday," said weather service meteorologist Waylon Collins. "Thunderstorms will be more likely Thursday night and Friday."

The cold front isn't expected to make west central Florida much colder. Temperatures will dip slightly, but afternoon highs will hover in the low 80s while early-morning lows will stay in the low 60s.

April tends to be Florida's driest month, but April showers have been nearly nonexistent this year. The Tampa Bay area has logged only .17 inches of rain this month, almost an inch below average. The region usually gets about 3 inches of rain in May.

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