MAX DEFENDER 8 FORECAST: Showers and storms likely this weekend with Fred in the Gulf of Mexico


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Mostly cloudy skies kept temperatures out of the scorching zone, we topped out in the low 90s. Widespread showers and thunderstorms drifted northwestward across our area and cooled things down a bit for the evening hours.

Winds will be a little bit breezier later in the day as Fred is forecast to move north. Rain chances will come down as the Bucs game kicks off this evening but a few passing storms during the game are possible.

Most spots should dry out overnight with increasing rain chances again on Sunday as Fred passes by the Tampa Bay area in the Gulf of Mexico.

The latest forecasts continue to trend Fred farther west. As of Saturday morning, Fred is very weak and may actually be an open wave over Cuba as opposed to a closed area of low pressure. This would keep any tropical impacts mainly to the offshore marine waters. Passing gusty downpours are still possible, especially along the coast.

Localized flooding, especially in Sarasota and Manatee Counties is possible. A Flood Watch is in effect for Sarasota County through Monday morning for 3 to 5 inches of accumulation. Localized amounts of up to 8 inches are possible which could lead to river flooding as well as standing water on roads.

As with any tropical system, there is also a low tornado threat in any passing rain bands. Tampa Bay will be on the eastern side which could produce water spouts moving ashore but the threat is quite low.

There will be no storm surge threat with Fred because it will be too far away and too weak to push any water up on our coastline. Seas will still be rough however and rip currents will be strong through Monday.

Fred will pull away Sunday night but tropical moisture will linger and keep rain chances high through the beginning of the week.

By the end of the week, the focus will turn to newly formed Tropical Storm Grace. The forecast path takes it on a similar course to Fred. This will keep Grace weak due to land interaction in the Caribbean Islands and upper level winds will stay fairly strong.

There is a lot of uncertainty though on where exactly Grace will go and it is too early to talk about possible impacts to the Tampa Bay area. It will need to be watched closely this week .

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