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Strong storm Sunday could bring flooding, cool weather to Tampa Bay

Winds up to 60 mph are possible, with isolated tornadoes and waterspouts, the National Weather Service says. “A very significant system.”
This map released Saturday by the National Weather Service shows a large area of rain and thunderstorms hitting much of the Southeast, including the northern half of Florida, early Sunday.
This map released Saturday by the National Weather Service shows a large area of rain and thunderstorms hitting much of the Southeast, including the northern half of Florida, early Sunday. [ National Weather Service ]
Published Jan. 15|Updated Jan. 16

A strong winter weather system will move through the Tampa Bay area Saturday night, possibly bringing severe weather and cooler air.

An area of low pressure moving along the northern Gulf Coast will bring a cold front through the area starting late Saturday night and lasting through Sunday afternoon. Severe weather could begin around 4 a.m. Sunday, said Rodney Wynn, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

Related: South braces for major blast of snow, ice

Damaging winds up to 50 to 60 miles per hour are possible along with severe thunderstorms in the Tampa Bay area. Isolated tornadoes and waterspouts are also possible, Wynn said. However, the storm will be quick-moving. About an inch or less of rainfall is expected.

In addition, gale force winds of about 35 to 45 miles an hour are expected over the eastern gulf waters. That will make boating dangerous from Saturday night continuing into Monday, Wynn said.

A coastal flood warning is in effect through Sunday night for coastal Pinellas County and to the north, according to Bay News 9. Tide levels could rise from 1 to 3 feet above normal beginning Saturday, according to Wynn. More significant flooding, possibly 5 feet, could occur in areas north of Tampa Bay.

The storm should be out of the Tampa Bay area by Sunday afternoon, Wynn said.

Sunday’s high will be around 68 degrees, however the storm will bring colder weather. Starting Monday and into Tuesday, the highs are going to be in the low to mid 60s.

“The overnight lows are where we’re going to start to feel it,” Wynn said.

Saturday night will be in the low 60s, but Wynn said a drastic cool-down Sunday into Monday will bring lows into the mid 50s. Even more cool downs are expected Monday into Tuesday.

“That will be a very chilly morning in Florida, looking for mid-40s close to the water and mid-30s to 40s in inland areas,” Wynn said.

Wynn warns that people should stay away from the water for the next 24 to 36 hours.

“This is going to be a very significant system,” Wynn said. “Definitely for people that are planning on going boating, it’s not a good idea to do it. Don’t go to the beach. Stay out of the water. Anything to do with water is going to be very dangerous.”

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