1. Hurricane

Disturbance will bring wind, rain, possibly tornadoes to Tampa Bay this weekend

The National Hurricane Center has issued a storm surge watch for Florida’s Gulf Coast from Indian Pass to Clearwater.
A broad area of low pressure headed toward the Gulf of Mexico will bring wind, rain and possibly tornadoes to the Tampa Bay area this weekend. [National Hurricane Center]
A broad area of low pressure headed toward the Gulf of Mexico will bring wind, rain and possibly tornadoes to the Tampa Bay area this weekend. [National Hurricane Center]
Published Oct. 17, 2019
Updated Oct. 17, 2019

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Whether it develops into a named storm or not, a broad area of low pressure over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico will bring wind, rain and possibly tornadoes to the Tampa Bay area this weekend.

A fast-moving system of showers and thunderstorms moving northeast over the Gulf continues to show signs of organization and has a 90-percent chance of tropical development over the next two-to-five days, according to the National Hurricane Center. Environmental conditions are conducive for additional development, and a tropical or subtropical storm is likely to form later today or tonight.

A turn toward the northeast is expected this afternoon or tonight, and a northeastward motion at a faster forward speed is expected on Friday and Saturday. On the forecast track, the system will approach the northern Gulf Coast Friday and Friday night.

If the system develops into a tropical or subtropical storm, it will be named Nestor.

The strongest winds for our area will be Friday night into Saturday afternoon, said Rick Davis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

Davis expects cloudy and breezy weather for most of Saturday, with clearing Saturday night into Sunday. Rain chances for the Tampa Bay area are 60-70 percent for Saturday and 30-50 percent on Sunday.

“Maybe some indoor plans Saturday,” Davis said, “but outdoor events and plans are probably fine on Sunday.”

Tampa Bay is expected to experience winds of 20 to 25 miles per hour with gusts that could reach 35 to 40 mph or even higher if we get a strong thunderstorm.

The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning for residents from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Ochlockonee River in Florida. A tropical storm watch is in effect from east of the Ochlockonee River to Yankeetown.

A storm surge watch was issued for Florida’s Gulf Coast from Indian Pass to Clearwater, where storm surge inundation of up to 5 feet above ground is possible.

At this point, none of the models suggest the system developing into anything stronger than a tropical storm, with winds between 38-74 mph. But, Davis reminds, similar systems in the northeast Gulf of Mexico have spawned tornadoes for us in the past.

Even if the system doesn’t develop, Davis said, it’s going to bring strong, gusty, southwest winds that would push higher than normal tides in the area — probably 1-2 feet around Tampa Bay and higher amounts up north. Beach erosion, high waves and rip currents also are likely over the weekend.

2019 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at

PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

BUILD YOUR KIT: The stuff you’ll need to stay safe — and comfortable — for the storm

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

What Michael taught the Panhandle and Tampa Bay

What the Panhandle’s top emergency officials learned from Michael

‘We’re not going to give up.’ What a school superintendent learned from Michael

What Tampa Bay school leaders fear most from a storm

Tampa Bay’s top cops fear for those who stay behind


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  2. Flooding from an October king tide in Miami Shores fills streets, sidewalks and driveways at its peak. [Miami Herald]
  3. From left, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos speak at a summit held by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council's Resiliency Coalition on Tuesday at the Hilton Carillon Park in St. Petersburg. [LANGSTON TAYLOR]
  4. The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) aboard NOAA's GOES East captured this view of Hurricane Dorian overnight on Sept. 4, 2019. The GLM continually looks for lightning flashes in the Western Hemisphere, both on land and nearby ocean regions and can detect all three major lightning types: in-cloud, cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning. Alongside radar and other weather satellite data, lightning information helps forecasters understand when a storm is forming, intensifying and becoming more dangerous. [NOAA]
  5. Ridge Road in Pasco County currently ends at Moon Lake Road. The county wants to extend it 8 miles to link to the Suncoast Parkway and then to U.S. 41 in Land O' Lakes. [Tampa Bay Times]
  6. Denis Phillips, chief meteorologist for ABC Action news (WFTS-Ch. 28 ), center, serves cookies to Griffin Frank, of Tampa, right, while hosting a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network with hot chocolate, popcorn, Doubletree Chocolate Chip cookies and even a few homemade Rule #7 Wine glasses, on Saturday, December 14, 2019, at his home in Palm Harbor. At left is Denis' wife, Robyn Phillips, and at right is his son, Josh Phillips, 16. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
  7. Hurricane Dorian left homes in ruin in the Bahamas. [FERNANDO LLANO  |  AP]
  8. The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center shows the storm moving toward the northeast out to sea. [National Hurricane Center]
  9. Tropical storm Sebastien has developed in the Atlantic and now has an 80 percent chance of turning into a tropical cyclone. [National Hurricane Center] [National Hurricane Center]
  10. Forecasters with the National Weather Service estimate that the system has a 50-percent chance of developing into a tropical or sub-tropical depression during the next 48 hours. [National Weather Service]
  11. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas on Sept. 13. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) [RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP]
  12. The projected path of Tropical Storm Olga [National Hurricane Center]