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Rare gale warning in effect as strong storms approach Tampa Bay tonight

The worst of the storms should move across our area from about 9 p.m. tonight through 3 a.m. Friday.
Clouds build in downtown St. Petersburg in this file photo from August 2019. A system moving across the Gulf of Mexico is expected to bring strong storms to our area tonight, said meteorologist Juli Marquez of Spectrum Bay News 9.
Clouds build in downtown St. Petersburg in this file photo from August 2019. A system moving across the Gulf of Mexico is expected to bring strong storms to our area tonight, said meteorologist Juli Marquez of Spectrum Bay News 9.

Conditions will be warm and dry early today, but a system moving across the Gulf of Mexico will bring strong storms to our area tonight, said meteorologist Juli Marquez of Spectrum Bay News 9.

The worst of the storms should move across Florida from about 9 p.m. tonight through 3 a.m. Friday.

Related: UPDATE: Sunshine Skyway bridge closed, Florida State Fair closes early

A wind advisory is in effect from this afternoon through tonight. Expect winds of 20 to 35 mph with higher gusts, according to Marquez.

A rare gale warning is in effect for the eastern Gulf of Mexico, as well as high surf and coastal flood advisories this afternoon through Friday morning.

A gale warning is the nautical equivalent of a wind advisory on land. The U.S. National Weather Service defines a gale as sustained surface winds of 39 to 54 miles per hour.

The strong winds could make driving across bridges, particularly the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, dangerous, Marquez said. They also will create hazardous beach and boating conditions.

Minor coastal flooding and dangerous rip currents should be expected, as well.

Temperatures will reach the upper 70s to mid-80s today. It will be windy and cooler Friday, with highs in the mid-60s.

The storms should leave our area early Friday morning as a cold front moves in behind it.

Read Juli Marquez’s full forecast here.

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