A line of storms riding a cold front could bring potentially severe weather to the Tampa Bay area Thursday starting around noon.
From around 11 a.m. to about 6 p.m., a line of showers and thunderstorms will pass from the Nature Coast down to Polk County, according to Spectrum Bay News 9. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said there is a “slight risk” for isolated to scattered, severe storms for much of the west coast of Florida.
Austen Flannery, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office, said the line of storms will bring the potential for gusty, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.
“So people definitely have got to be paying attention to the weather tomorrow, making sure they have multiple ways to receive weather alerts and such,” Flannery said.
The Storm Prediction Center defines a severe storm as any storm that contains at least one of the following weather events: wind gusts of 58 mph or higher, hail at least 1 inch in diameter or a tornado.
Flannery said severe weather in any one location likely won’t last longer than about 30 minutes to an hour. However, it’ll take a good portion of the day to move from Florida’s northwest Big Bend region to the southwest part of the state.
The stormy weather is coasting along a cold front that will bring December’s largest prolonged dip in temperatures so far.
Temperatures will drop gradually once storms push through the area and the weather improves, Flannery said. Some of the coldest temperatures likely will occur Sunday morning, when northern Tampa Bay will be in the high 40s and the south will be in the low 50s.
By Monday, temperatures will warm up to around the upper 60s and lower 70s. The rest of the week will likely remain mild, Flannery said.
Weather models are suggesting a possible cooldown again around the holidays. However, Flannery said the models can’t produce forecasts with much skill that far in the future. However, climatological predictors can help forecasters get a better grasp on what the long-term trends are.
“Looking at some of the big picture signals, they suggest that ... we should be getting into a cooler pattern, at least temporarily, and we’re seeing that starting this weekend,” Flannery said. “And when you get a bit cooler, it doesn’t take as much effort to cool you down further.”