Flood Watch For Tampa Bay As Drenching Rains Persist

First it was the heat, and now it’s the rain.

After enduring a few days of scorching conditions, the Tampa Bay area will have to deal with drenching rains, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a flood watch for the region through Friday.

According to Ray Hawthorne, meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, the region has already received nearly 6 inches more rain than normal since June 1.

The high moisture content in the air is contributing to the frequent rain and potential thunderstorms, which could produce flash flooding – especially in urban areas, Hawthorne said.

“Persistent westerly winds from the Gulf and an approaching front from the Panhandle should create an environment favorable for more rain,” Hawthorne said. “The storms will start near the coast early in the morning and spread to inland areas late in the morning and afternoon.”

They could produce an additional 5 inches of rain through Friday, Hawthorne said.

The flood watch extends from Cedar Key south to Fort Myers. NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center also is calling for a “marginal risk” of flash flooding south I-4 to the south through tonight.