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  1. Local Weather

It ain’t over yet, Tampa Bay. Heavy rains will continue until Saturday morning.

The worst of the storms and winds is over. But the rain isn’t done yet.

Tampa Bay was ravaged by thunderstorms on Friday morning that knocked out power for thousands in Dunedin and downed trees from Citrus all the way to Manatee County.

The most violent storm systems have now passed through the region, said Spectrum Bay News 9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik on Friday afternoon.

But the rain will not let up until Saturday morning.

Traffic backs up on Bay Pines Boulevard as drivers wait Friday morning to enter Bay Pines VA Hospital in St. Petersburg. Thundershowers moved in from the Gulf of Mexico and pounded the Tampa Bay region. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

The National Weather Service said there will be a 70 to 80 percent chance of rain through the rest of Friday. That forecast will not improve overnight. There is a 70 percent chance that scattered thunderstorms could hit the southern regions of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties the hardest.

“It will be drier north. I can’t say there won’t be rain, but it will be lighter rains,” Kacmarik said about Citrus and Hernando counties for Saturday.

“We have some heavier downpours that are starting to move right back in on the coast from southern Pinellas into the mouth of Tampa Bay.”

Bay area residents woke up to a tornado watch that was in effect Friday morning as the weather service warned of isolated tornadoes and wind gusts up 75 miles per hour.

However, there were no suspected tornadoes reported by Friday afternoon and the watch is no longer in effect.

Kacmarik said the rain and cloud cover has temporarily cooled the region down, with parts of Hillsborough and the North Suncoast reporting temperatures in the upper 60s around noon on Friday.

Those temperatures will continue into Saturday morning along with the rain. But weekend temperatures are expected to go back up into the 80s once the storms pass and the region starts drying out.

Rain showers are projected to pass through the bay area by Saturday afternoon, Kacmarik said. Once they’re gone, the region will remain dry through Sunday night while temperatures rise back to highs of 88 on Saturday afternoon and 87 on Sunday.

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