A familiar combination of high heat and elevated afternoon rain chances will bring a little taste of Florida summer Thursday afternoon.
A system moving into the Tampa Bay area on Thursday will produce some showers and thunderstorms, said Rick Davis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office. The best rain chances will be in the inland areas of Hillsborough into Polk County in the late afternoon and evening, Davis said.
Rain chances are lowest near the coast (about 30-40%), Davis said. As the sea breeze moves from the coast inland Thursday, the system will gather some strength, bumping up rain chances in Hillsborough and Polk counties to 50-70%.
In Tampa, rainfall amounts are predicted to be between a quarter and half an inch, according to the weather service.
“Tomorrow definitely looks the most rainy area-wide that we’ll see this week,” Davis said Wednesday.
The rain will be accompanied by some thunder and lightning with a chance of small hail and wind gusts up to about 40 mph. The storms likely won’t drive in severe weather like the area saw a few weeks ago when golf-ball sized hail pummeled inland areas of Tampa Bay.
“We’re not expecting a significant severe weather threat with this, even though you have a little bit of an upper-level disturbance,” Davis said.
Thursday’s storms are a combination of the area’s summertime sea breeze pattern and an upper-level disturbance, Davis said. A system in south Texas and the western Gulf of Mexico is moving toward Tampa Bay and will give the sea breeze pattern an extra lift, he said.
Without that extra lift, the Tampa Bay area likely wouldn’t see much for storms on Thursday — similar to Wednesday, when forecasters were anticipating afternoon storms only in the inland areas of the state.
On Friday and Saturday, the area returns to lower rain chances, which range from 20-40% across the area. The rest of the week is going to be hot and muggy and the feels-like temperatures could reach 100 degrees.
The good news: There’s only a slim chance of rain in the morning on Mother’s Day, great for a holiday brunch. However, rain chances increase to about 20-30% in the afternoon, Davis said. If you’re planning any outdoor activities, make sure to bring some water. The high on Sunday will be in the upper 80s, according to the weather service.