TAMPA, Fla. (WLFA) — Heavy rain and gusty winds continue right along the coast this morning, especially in Sarasota and Manatee County. Winds remain breezy inland but with the exception of an isolated passing shower, most areas away from the coast will stay mostly dry through the morning.
Temperatures are mild in the mid-70s and will warm in the mid-80s this afternoon. Some sun will poke through the mostly cloudy skies today, but not much. Winds will stay gusty at times. The highest gusts will occur along the coast where frequent gusts in the 30s have been reported overnight.
Throughout the day, expect winds to come out of the southeast at 15-20 mph, with higher gusts possible outside or within any passing thunderstorms. Winds will begin to subside through the evening as Sally gets farther away.
There is a high risk for rip currents at area beaches due to the strong winds and larger waves. This will continue through the start of the work week with Sally’s swell reaching our coast.
Downpours will develop inland moving from the southeast to the northwest quickly as they rap around the outer edge of Sally. Sally will be moving away from the Tampa Bay area this afternoon and overnight but a southerly wind will keep the area humid with plenty of moisture. Rain chances will stay elevated on Monday for developing heavy rain during the afternoon.
By Tuesday, rain chances will come down to 40% for scattered afternoon thunderstorms. By the weekend, a cold front is expected to move into North Florida. This will leave abundant moisture pooled up to the south of it across the Tampa Bay area, increasing rain chances.
TRACKING THE TROPICS
Tropical Storm Sally continues to strengthen moving northwest through the Gulf. As of the 5 am advisory, max winds were at 50 mph. The storm is now forecast to make landfall a category two storm with max winds at 100 mph early Tuesday night. The National Hurricane Center noted that a period of rapid intensification is possible Monday if it can develop a well defined core.
A major hurricane making landfall is not out of the question. Sally will bring significant storm surge impacts, strong hurricane force winds, and flooding rain to areas along the northern Gulf Coast, possibly for several days as the storm slows down.
Paulette is impacting Bermuda as a hurricane but will begin to re-curve out to sea on Monday.
Tropical Depression Rene will continue to meander in the Atlantic and remains no threat to the US.
Tropical Depression Twenty is in the Central Atlantic moving WNW at 10 mph. It is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane by Tuesday as it moves through the Atlantic.
Two tropical waves are being monitored for development off Africa. One has a high chance of developing over the next five days but is no immediate threat to land.