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Tampa Bay in for a rainy, dreary Friday, and possible severe weather

Much of Tampa Bay has a marginal risk of severe weather throughout Friday.
 
Elaine Billes explored the Crystal Beach Pier with her silver Labrador Enzo in December 2023. Similar dreary conditions are expected throughout the day on Friday, when forecasters expect widespread storms will stick around until early Saturday.
Elaine Billes explored the Crystal Beach Pier with her silver Labrador Enzo in December 2023. Similar dreary conditions are expected throughout the day on Friday, when forecasters expect widespread storms will stick around until early Saturday. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published March 21

The Tampa Bay area could see rounds of rain beginning early Friday morning that are likely to last through the day, bringing with them a chance of severe weather.

The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center shows much of the Tampa Bay area has a “marginal risk” of strong weather Friday that could include thunderstorms and tornadoes. However, areas south of Tampa Bay are likely to receive the worst of the storms, said Paul Close, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Tampa Bay office.

“It’s not a good day overall,” Close said. “There could be some embedded thunderstorm ... best chances of severe weather is further south.”

The rain stems from a low pressure system moving through the Gulf of Mexico that is stirring up moisture and beefing up cloud coverage.

Close said rain could move into Tampa Bay as early as midnight Friday, with stop-and-go showers continuing until early Saturday. The entire Tampa Bay area is likely to see some rain, Close said.

A radar prediction image from Spectrum Bay News 9 showed stormy weather settling into the area by 4 a.m. Friday.

The weather service previously expected up to 3 inches of rain from the incoming storms, but by Thursday morning it had lowered its prediction to about an inch across the area.

“We need this kind of rain, it’s widespread rain,” Close said. “Everyone is going to get some, unlike the last event when it was spotty.”

By Saturday, showers will still linger in the morning, Close said. However as the day progresses rain chances fall, leaving behind a breezy day. Sunday will be similar, when the day is mostly sunny with some windy weather and a high in the mid-70s.