Tampa Bay’s typical rain patterns have been flipped for the past week or so, with showers in the mornings and largely dry afternoons and evenings.
A return to normal is likely this week, however.
Why did the change occur in the first place? Meteorologists Josh Linker and Diane Kacmarik of Spectrum Bay News 9 say the now-dissipated Tropical Storm Claudette is to blame.
The duo said the storm, despite not making landfall with Florida, forced Tampa Bay into a rare “reverse summer pattern.” How we got to that point stemmed from a number of causes and effects.
First, when an area of low pressure — the same area that eventually became Claudette — first popped up in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico last week, it reinforced a trough in the upper atmosphere. That trough then led to a shift in winds around Tampa Bay, which placed us in a west-southwest wind pattern. This is the opposite of our typical summer pattern that includes easterly or southeasterly winds.
When the winds shift, so does the time of day showers reach us.
In our typical pattern, showers would begin in the morning on Florida’s east coast. Then, with winds coming in from the Atlantic, those same storms would reach Tampa Bay and the rest of the Gulf coast by the afternoon.
“With the west wind, we get the showers in the Gulf to move onshore in the morning,” Kacmarik and Linker wrote in an article on the Bay News 9 website. “Then, they march steadily across the state and become enhanced on the east coast with the sea breeze there.”
Now, with Claudette officially dissipated as of Monday night, we are returning to normal again, according to the National Weather Service’s Ruskin office. That means you can expect to wake up to sunny skies and for the rain to — mostly — stay away until the afternoon once again.
Accompanying Tampa Bay’s return to a normal pattern will be a week filled with the wet stuff.
There is a 60 percent chance of rain on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by a 50 percent chance on Friday, according to Bay News 9. The weekend will be slightly drier, with a rain chance of 40 percent on Saturday and Sunday.