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Tampa Bay could get much-needed rain around Memorial Day

Forecasters have given Memorial Day a 40 percent chance of rain. That’s good news for the region, which has seen few showers throughout May.
Palm trees through a drop-covered window during after a bout of rain, Thursday, May 13, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
Palm trees through a drop-covered window during after a bout of rain, Thursday, May 13, 2021 in St. Petersburg. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published May 27
Updated May 27

It’s been a dry month in Tampa Bay, with some cities not recording a single drop of rain. But the dry spell could soon be over.

Rain chances shoot up from zero on Friday to 40 percent on Monday and Tuesday, according to Spectrum Bay News 9 Meteorologist Diane Kacmarik.

The rain is rolling in with a front from the north, Kacmarik said Thursday. It will come gradually, with a 20 percent chance Saturday and a 30 percent chance Sunday ahead of Memorial Day.

Any rain at all is a positive for the region, which is approaching drought conditions. The U.S. Drought Monitor upgraded conditions from simply “dry” to “abnormally dry” on Thursday for inland Tampa Bay. The new designation comes after much of inland Hillsborough and Pasco counties experienced no rain all month.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District announced Thursday it is prohibiting campfires at all district campgrounds until further notice because of the dry weather. Sarasota County on Wednesday even declared a drought emergency and urged residents to conserve water for the next week.

Even where it has rained, it certainly hasn’t poured. A gauge at Tampa International Airport recorded just .16 of an inch of rain in May, all of which came from a brief shower on May 6. Before that, the airport had not recorded a drop since April 20, according to the National Weather Service.

Related: Rainy season is coming, Tampa Bay. Here’s the official start date

The rain chances this weekend are encouraging on the eve of Florida’s rainy season. Even better news is that Tampa Bay is expected to have “above normal” rain for the first 10 days of June, according to Meteorologist Ric Kearbey of Channel 10-WTSP.

While rain totals are down, Kacmarik says everything else about Tampa Bay weather is normal for this time of year. She said daily sea breezes are present and that temperatures for the weekend — ranging from the high 80s on the coast, low 90s inland — is average for the end of May.