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  1. Local Weather

Tampa Bay starts Friday under a tornado watch while thunderstorms enter region

The tornado watch extends across all of Central Florida.

Tampa Bay residents woke up under a tornado watch on Friday morning.

The National Weather Service issued the watch from 1:55 a.m. to 11 a.m. for nearly all of Central Florida, from as far south as Sarasota to as far north as Gainesville. A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area, which includes all of the Tampa Bay area in this case.

The weather service says a couple of tornadoes are possible, as well as scattered wind gusts that could reach up to 70 mph.

Duke Energy is reporting about 7,000 power outages in Pinellas County. About 5,000 of those outages are in the Dunedin area, according to the utility’s outage map.

The watch comes just days after three tornadoes touched down in other parts of Central Florida — Marion County, DeLand and Sanford.

STUCK ON I-75... In case you were or you are stuck in traffic on I-75 southbound here is what is going on... The storm...

Posted by Marion County Sheriff's Office on Monday, April 20, 2020

While the tornado watch is set to end at 11 a.m. on Friday, the rain won’t be stopping in Tampa Bay.

Brian McClure, a meteorologist at Spectrum Bay News 9, says the region can expect rain nearly all Friday. The storms will begin in Tampa Bay’s northern counties and then move farther south as the day goes on.

“We put a 70 percent (chance of rain Friday), but we could probably end up with 80 or 90 percent coverage when it’s all said and done by Friday night," McClure said.

Tampa Bay will be a touch cooler Friday because of the constant rain and clouds, McClure said. The high for the day will be in the low 80s, which will come in the morning. The cloud cover and showers will continue into Saturday, keeping most of Saturday in the low 80s and high 70s before a dry and sunny Sunday.