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Rain is returning to Tampa Bay, putting an end to month-long dry spell

Not all of Tampa Bay had heavy rain Wednesday. But the showers are a good sign for the region, which had next-to-no rain in May.
Rain drops splatter on a car windshield in downtown Clearwater in 2018. After a very dry May, rain chances are increasing starting this weekend.
Rain drops splatter on a car windshield in downtown Clearwater in 2018. After a very dry May, rain chances are increasing starting this weekend. [ JIM DAMASKE | Times (2018) ]
Published Jun. 3
Updated Jun. 3

It was a sight for sore eyes on Wednesday evening: Significant rain returned to parts of Tampa Bay for the first time in over a month.

The rain was much needed for Tampa Bay, which had some inland areas go the entirety of May without a single drop of rain recorded by the National Weather Service.

Now the region is expected to have rain every day for the next week, at the least.

Spectrum Bay News 9′s forecast gives a 60 percent chance of rain for Friday and Saturday, followed by a 50 percent chance on Sunday. Those chances drop slightly into next week, with a 40 percent chance on Monday and a 30 percent chance on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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

While it may foil some weekend plans, the rain is sorely needed, said Keily Delerme of the National Weather Service’s Ruskin office.

The U.S. Drought Monitor upgraded conditions from simply “dry” to “abnormally dry” a week ago for a majority of inland Hillsborough and Pasco counties. While Wednesday’s rain certainly helped, Delerme said it won’t be until rain like that is sustained — and covers all of the region — that the abnormally dry designation will go away.

Wednesday’s showers were heavy in some parts of Tampa Bay but didn’t reach others. In Tampa and Brooksville, nearly 1.5 inches fell. In Clearwater, however, it was just .35 of an inch.

Delerme said rain coverage will grow over the weekend, with a 30 percent chance of rain for the driest parts of Tampa Bay. Other areas will have rain chances as high as 80 percent on Saturday and Sunday.

Tampa Bay’s “rainy season” runs from May 25 to Oct. 10, according to the weather service. While the season got off to a slow start, Delerme said a return to daily afternoon showers is imminent as the Gulf of Mexico continues to warm up.