Lather on that sunscreen and grab a hat because it looks like it’s going to be a sunny Memorial Day weekend.
After a couple of days marked by some much-needed downpours — and the addition of some slightly severe weather — the weekend is shaping up to be picturesque in Tampa Bay.
The National Weather Service is still calling for rain Friday afternoon, but by the weekend, rain chances plummet. The forecast shows sunshine across the board in Tampa Bay, starting on Saturday and lasting through Memorial Day.
An added bonus: Forecasters are even expecting a drop in humidity.
An area of low pressure over Florida is set to move off into the Atlantic toward the Carolinas on Friday, said Nicole Carlisle, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Tampa Bay office.
“For the weekend, as that low comes away from us, we’re actually going to get a little bit of drier air,” Carlisle said. “That’s going to lead to rain chances that are much lower than what we’ve seen in the past few days and even slightly lower humidity levels.”
The weekend still will be warm, with highs staying in the mid-to-upper 80s across Tampa Bay. However, the lows drop considerably. In Tampa, the low on Saturday is forecast to be in the mid-60s. In Lutz, the mercury is expected to drop to 62 degrees.
Whatever your weekend plans are — from dancing at the Sunset Music Festival in Tampa, to basking in a day out on the water, to attending a Memorial Day service — the weather is looking to be quite nice.
But, before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s look at Friday’s forecast.
Across Tampa Bay on Friday, rain chances range from about 30% on the coast to as high as about 70% near Lakeland. The weather service anticipates about a quarter of an inch of rain or less in Tampa. More inland areas could see up to one-half inch of rain.
Over the past few days, the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas have received about 2 to 3 inches of rain, Carlisle said. An area in western Polk County, near Lakeland, saw a whopping 4 to 6½ inches of rain on Thursday. The rainfall over the past few days is certainly nothing to sneeze at after weeks of dry weather.
We’re officially in the rainy season here in Tampa Bay, which means we’re transitioning to our usual summer pattern of afternoon thunderstorms. While the area is still considered to be in an “extreme drought,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a seasonal outlook from the agency expects the drought will end in the summer months.
“It should only get better in the coming weeks as we get into the rainy season,” Carlisle said.