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Daystarter: Severe weather to move through Tampa Bay; a Florida connection in the Mueller report; take a ride on Busch Gardens' Tigris coaster

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.

• Good Friday definitely doesn't describe the weather. The bay area will wake up to cloudy skies and strong wing gusts — up to 35 mph — as a band of thundershowers roll in. By early to mid-afternoon conditions will deteroriate as the showers bring heavy rains, lightning and even the chance of hail and maybe even a tornado to the bay area, according to the National Weather Service. The highs will be in the low to mid 80s, then drop down to the 70s at night. Saturday will see the rain clear up but it'll still be cool but breezy, with temps in the 60s and 70s. It'll start to warm up again on Sunday.

• It costs money to produce quality journalism. Please support the Tampa Bay Times by buying a digital subscription to Florida's best newspaper and its redesigned website tampabay.com.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay.

We rode Tigris, the new Busch Gardens coaster: Watch and read what it's like to take a ride on Florida's tallest launch coaster. The ride opens to the public on Friday. Tampa Bay Times reporter Daniel Figueroa IV. described his experience, "So, naturally, I had to ride at least three times. The verdict: Tigris is an intense and worthy ride that catches you by surprise. Thrill seekers, the line starts in Stanleyville",

• In 2015, John Jonchuck dropped his dropped his 5-year-old daughter, Phoebe, off a St. Petersburg bridge. She plunged 62 feet to her death in the cold waters below. This week, after more than four weeks of testimony and argument, the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder. Jonchuck, 29, will spend the rest of his life in prison. But murder cases never really go away. There are appeals after appeals. One strange aspect of the Jonchuck trial could lead to one of those appeals: The judge allowed jurors to directly question witnesses — in fact they asked more than 50 questions during the trial. Josh Solomon, Zachary T. Sampson and Lane DeGregory explain what happened, how rare it is and what it means for future appeals.

THE VERDICT: John Jonchuck guilty of first-degree murder in 2015 death of his daughter, Phoebe

• CATCH UP: The Times covered every day of the trial and analyzed key moments.

KEY MOMENTS: 5 moments that mattered in the John Jonchuck murder trial

THE QUESTION: The trial of John Jonchuck comes down to one question: Evil or insane?

THE VICTIM: The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck by Pulitzer-prize winner Lane DeGregory

• The Mueller report contained a distressing development for Florida's election system: Russian hackers gained access to at least one Florida county's election computer network during the 2016 campaign, reports Alex Daugherty, Steve Contorno and David Smiley. Mueller's report said the FBI concluded that the GRU, Russia's foreign military intelligence agency, sent spear phishing emails to over 120 email accounts used by Florida county officials responsible for overseeing the 2016 election.

It's now up to Congress to decide what to do with special counsel Robert Mueller's findings about President Donald Trump. How far lawmakers will go, though, remains unclear. Republicans are eager to push past what Trump calls the "witch hunt" that has overshadowed the party and the presidency. And while Democrats say Mueller's findings are far more serious than initially indicated in Attorney General William Barr's four-page summary, they've been hesitant to pursue the ultimate step, impeachment proceedings, despite pressure from the left flank of the party to begin efforts to try to remove the president from office.

• In a bout of political horse trading that disgusted some lawmakers, a Florida Senate committee on Thursday reversed weeks of work and passed sweeping changes to hospital regulations. Lawrence Mower and Elizabeth Koh report that the sudden switch left Republicans grilling each other about the wisdom of making massive changes to the state's health care landscape with just days left in the legislative session.

• A bill that would make it far more difficult to gather the signatures needed to get constitutional amendments before Florida voters has turned into a heated partisan fight, reports Samantha J. Gross. Republicans say the bill preserves the sanctity of the constitution by limiting who can amend it. Democrats say the stronghold of conservatives in the Legislature make ballot initiatives the only way for their progressive constituents' voices to be heard. The bill is scheduled to be heard on the House floor next Wednesday.

• The Florida Legislature is in session. The Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau has the latest coverage from the state capital at the The Buzz.

• Pinellas County's population is changing, with people of color projected to become the majority after 2050, according to a new report. But Justine Griffin reports that officials say the county and state leaders have a lot of work to do to help future restidents as black and Hispanic residents lag behind their white counterparts in income, education and other quality of life measures.

• The federal government's infamous "reefer madness" campaign to criminalize the use of marijuana was borne from the brutal murders that took palce in Ybor City in 1933. Victor Licata snapped, history says, killing his older sister and his two little brothers. He was sent to an asylum for the rest of his life at age 21. But Paul Guzzo takes another deep dive into Tampa history and uncovers an alternate theory of one of the bay area's most infamous mass murders: Maybe it was a mob hit.

A fire Thursday night destroyed a building at a Brandon church. Firefighters responding to New Testament Church, 913 Dew Bloom Road, found the Fellowship Hall on church property fully engulfed in flames.

• The race to become Tampa's next mayor is winding down to its final days, with the election looming on Tuesday. Charlie Frago reports that candidate David Straz has released his first detailed policy proposal since the March runoff, one focused on what his campaign calls "sweeping ethics reform."

• The Tampa mayor's race is headed down the stretch. Click here for full coverage of the race and follow Tampa city hall reporter Charlie Frago on Twitter for the latest developments.

• For the latest education coverage, make sure to read The Gradebook. And check out the Gradebook podcast as education reporter Jeffrey Solochek leads a weekly discussion about Florida education.

Remember the guy who threw up on Busch Gardens' Sheikra?. He's back on TigrisWith a baby-blue sky above, a young man in a soft cotton tee and cargo shorts put on a brave face and strapped himself into Busch Gardens' newest roller coaster. He was looking for redemption. Zander Morales, a 28-year-old bartender and student who dabbles in acting, needed to show the world he wouldn't throw up again.

Life of the Party podcast: It's a country edition of the podcast when US 103.5 and iHeartRadio's Sarah Jacobs joins us to talk about Old Town Road, blurring genres, Friends in Low Places and more.

Review: Santana revives Woodstock vibes at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg. "Seriously, we feel you -- and you smell good, too," Carlos Santana told a sold-out crowd on the pitch at Al Lang Stadium. "That was some really good weed over there."

• Read the Tampa Bay Times online Sports page with the latest news about the Lightning, Bucs, Rays, Bulls, Gators, Noles and high school sports. Times sportswriter Rick Stroud has the latest reaction and analysis from the whole team via our Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast.

• Lightning players cleared the lockeroom on Thursday, officially starting what will be a long offseason of wondering what might have been after Tampa Bay got swept out of the first round of the NHL playoffs. Diana C. Nearhos writes that the players underperformed and they know it. "This group has a long summer now to live with this, to live with what happened," Steven Stamkos said.

• Who should pay for the greatest of Stanley Cup Collapses? Is it time for Lightning coach Jon Cooper to go? Not so fast, writes columnist John Romano. Cooper may make for an inviting target, Romano writes, but should seven days in April erase six years of success under Cooper? What about the stars who floundered for four games against the Bluejackets?

• For the latest on the Lightning's quest for the Stanley Cup, click here throughout the season and follow beat writers Diana C. Nearhos at @dianacnearhos and Mari Faiello at @faiello_mari.

The Miami Hurricanes will hold their spring scrimmage Saturday in the same stadium that will host their marquee season opener against an SEC team (Florida). Sound familiar? It's the same thing Florida State did in 2016 before it opened against Ole Miss.

• Get the latest Rays' news from Marc Topkin and follow him throughout baseball season on @Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

• The Bucs' 2019 schedule is brutal: From Sept. 22 until Nov. 10, the Bucs will play in road games against the Rams, Saints, Panthers (in London), Titans and Seahawks. That's a total of 20,378 miles traveled in seven weeks — and no homefield advantage. But the league has now confirmed that the Bucs got a raw deal by being asked to go 49 days without playing a game in Tampa Bay, reports Rick Stroud. "If we had to do over, if we had a redo," said Mike North, the NFL's senior director of broadcast planning and scheduling.

• The Bucs have a new head coach and the NFL draft is almost here. Keep up with the latest offseason changes by following the Times' Bucs page which is just a click away at tampabay.com. For the latest team news on @Twitter, follow Rick Stroud at @NFLSTROUD and fellow beat writer Eduardo A. Encina at @EddieInTheYard.

• All the Bulls news you can use is right here from Times beat writer Joey Knight. Follow him on Twitter for the latest at @TBTimes_Bulls.

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