Tampa Bay woke up to heavy showers this morning as rain coverage throughout the region neared 100 percent.
Accompanying the rain were wind gusts as high as 57 mph in Gulfport and other parts of Pinellas and Manatee counties, prompting the Florida Highway Patrol to issue a wind advisory for the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Gusts of 45 and 42 mph were recorded in St. Petersburg.
Meteorologist Josh Linker of Bay News 9 said the rain will continue through the day. Showers will arrive in bands from the northwest, Linker said, with Citrus and Hernando counties experiencing the most rainfall.
“There will be repeated rounds of rain throughout the afternoon,” Linker said. “It’s not necessarily going to rain all day, but we’ll see several rounds of thunderstorms.”
The storms have already dropped as many as 6 inches of rain in Citrus and Hernando counties, where flood warnings are in place through Wednesday night. Linker projects that Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties could have as much as four inches of rainfall.
Tampa Bay experiences an average of 7.77 inches of rain for all of August typically, meaning some northern areas of the region could see above-average rainfall just one week into the month.
Why all the rain? A cold front from the northwest has “brought a ton of moisture” to the region and is expected to drench Tampa Bay for the rest of the work week, Linker says.
There is a slight chance of waterspouts Tuesday, but heavy rainfall remains the only major threat to the region. No hail or sustained high winds are expected.
There is a 70 percent chance of rain this afternoon and all day Wednesday, followed by a 60 percent chance Friday. As the current system passes through by the weekend, Linker said, rain chances will remain high — 50 percent for Saturday and Sunday. The typical pattern of summer afternoon showers is expected to return.