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Tornado watch in effect for Tampa Bay until Sunday morning

A tornado watch was issued for the Tampa Bay area about 11 p.m. Saturday night and was set to last until 7 a.m. Sunday.
A tornado watch was issued for the Tampa Bay area about 11 p.m. Saturday night and was set to last until 7 a.m. Sunday.
A tornado watch was issued for the Tampa Bay area about 11 p.m. Saturday night and was set to last until 7 a.m. Sunday. [ National Weather Service ]
Published Feb. 7
Updated Feb. 7

A tornado watch was issued for the Tampa Bay area about 11 p.m. Saturday night and was set to last until 7 a.m. Sunday.

Related: UPDATED SUPER BOWL SUNDAY FORECAST: Clear weather for Super Bowl kickoff on a day that dawned with lightning

Forecasters had been saying all week that they expected some potential rain or stormy weather to flow into the Tampa Bay area sometime over the weekend, potentially affecting Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday evening.

But as the day of the big game got closer, it appeared most of the rough weather would be over by early Sunday.

Spectrum Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker said Saturday that he expected any rain to be gone by mid-morning Sunday, well ahead of the 6:30 p.m. kickoff.

The National Weather Service issued the tornado watch just before 11 p.m. Saturday. It covers all Tampa Bay counties and much of Central Florida.

A watch means that conditions are conducive for tornadoes to form. It means you should be on alert, stay inside and closely follow updates from officials while the alert is in place. It would be smart to keep your phone or weather radio near you as you sleep in case a tornado warning is issued for your area.

A tornado warning is more urgent than a watch. It means that the formation of a tornado is imminent or has already happened in your area. You should quickly move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building — preferably as far away from windows as possible.

Radar late Saturday night showed a line of showers and thunderstorms in the Gulf of Mexico headed for the Tampa Bay area, and arriving in the overnight hours and early Sunday morning.

Related: Tornado guide for Floridians: What to do when you see a watch or warning