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Forecast: Skies to clear in Tampa Bay, flood warning in Hillsborough

After near-record wetness throughout the first half of the month, Tampa Bay can expect sunny skies on Saturday, forecasters predict, though temperatures will be cooler than normal.

A high of 61 degrees is forecast for the region, and high temperatures should creep up steadily every day next week, peaking at 80 on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

If the forecast bears out, Saturday will be about 10 degrees colder than the seasonal average.

December has already brought 8.45 inches of rain in Tampa, already the third-most of any December on record. The wettest was in 1997, when 15.57 inches of rain accumulated. But it appears the rain is behind us until Thursday.

Yet due to the "excessive rainfall" over the past few days, rivers in East Hillsborough are at risk of flooding over the weekend, according to the NWS.

The agency activated a flood warning Saturday morning for the Alafia River at Lithia and the Little Manatee River at Wimauma. The rainfall could cause minor to moderate flooding. The warning is in place through Sunday afternoon for Wimauma and Christmas Day for Lithia.

Saturday morning, both rivers were higher than 3 feet above their flood stages.

Contact Langston Taylor at or 727-893-8659. Follow @langstonitaylor.