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EXPECT IT TO DRY UP, WARM UP

There's only a 30 percent chance of rain today. As the skies clear, the mercury should rise.

After four soggy days, the Tampa Bay area is positioned to get drier and warmer this morning, forecasters said.

Still, a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms is forecast for this afternoon.

"As soon as it's not raining all day, our temperatures will be right back up" into the upper 80s, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik.

Though it is the start of the rainy season, rainfall for the first five days of July was above normal, forecasters said. At Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg, 3.89 inches was recorded; the normal is 0.87 inches. The most rain, 1.76 inches, fell on Sunday.

At Tampa International Airport, the recorded rainfall was 2.72 inches; the normal is 0.8 inches.

The intense rainfall kept us about 10 degrees cooler than normal, Kacmarik said. Not much rain was forecast overnight, and this morning should see sunny skies.

You can expect temperatures in the mid 80s today and the low 90s beginning Wednesday.

Kacmarik attributed the wet weather to a band of tropical moisture that has hung over Florida for the past few days. While that band is lifting, storms now pounding southwest Florida are also headed our way.

Rain chances today are 30 percent, but will increase to about 50 percent by the end of the week.

In the Caribbean, a broad area of low pressure off the western coast of Cuba had a 30 to 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone. But since it is traveling northwest, those storms would most likely steer clear of our area, Kacmarik said.

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