TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for a large portion of the Tampa Bay area on Wednesday.
A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring or are expected to occur soon. This is due to a combination of strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures.
A strong storm system that’s pushing through the northern Gulf Coast will help increase winds from the south. Wind gusts could reach 25 to 30 mph Wednesday afternoon.
The Red Flag Warning will be in effect from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Polk, Hardee, Highlands, DeSoto, inland Citrus, inland Hernando, inland Pasco, inland Hillsborough, inland Manatee, inland Sarasota, inland Charlotte and inland Lee counties.
Relative humidity in the affected area will be between 30 and 35%.
Those in the affected areas should be sure to limit any outdoor burning, especially during those hours.
Winds will remain gusty through Thursday. Rain will hold off until late Thursday afternoon, but the humidity will increase, which will help lower the threat of wildfires.
After the rain arrives, it will shower off and on through the weekend.
The storm system will be weaker when it arrives to Tampa Bay, but severe storms and long-track tornadoes are possible in areas to our west.