The rainy season is upon us in the Tampa Bay area, even if it hasn’t quite felt like it yet. But elevated rain chances this week could change that.
Forecasters are expecting thunderstorms on and off this week, much like Monday afternoon, when extra moisture fueled heightened rain chances in the Tampa Bay area. On Tuesday, forecasters are anticipating a 40% chance of rain in Tampa. Wednesday will have the highest chance of rain this week, when forecasters are calling for a 70% chance of showers.
In Tampa, rain chances were 50% on Monday, but they bumped up to 80% in Lakeland, according to the National Weather Service. As the sea breeze moved inland, the storm chances grew higher.
Monday also was the hottest day of the week, as forecasters anticipated temperatures would reach about 90 degrees in Tampa. The mercury will drop a little through the week; Friday’s high is forecast to be 85.
The National Weather Service says the rainy season began in Southwest Florida on May 15, and will begin in West Central Florida on Thursday. Over the past few weeks, there have been glimpses of rain, but not enough to pull our area from an extreme drought, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Integrated Drought Information System.
However, a seasonal outlook from the administration forecasts above-average rainfall that will end our drought over the summer months.
“This is a transition moment,” said Yidiana Zayas, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Tampa Bay office. “We’re transitioning from the winter to these summerlike days with the thunderstorms each afternoon.”
And just as the rainy season starts, the hurricane season is not far behind. The National Hurricane Center began updating its tropical weather outlooks on May 15. On Sunday, the first area of disturbed tropical weather popped up a couple hundred miles from the northeast Bahamas.
The disturbance has a low chance of developing — only 10% as of Monday afternoon. Strong winds and dry air are expected to halt any further development.
The system serves as a reminder to prepare for the hurricane season, which starts on June 1.