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Heavy Rains, Potential Floods In Forecast For Tampa Bay Area

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The Florida Division of Emergency Management is urging residents and businesses from Tampa to Pensacola to prepare for heavy rainfall and flooding potential today and lasting potentially through Thursday.

FDEM director Bryan W. Koon says the National Weather Service is monitoring a developing weather system along the Gulf Coast and that the service "expects this to be a slow moving heavy rain event which could last through Thursday," affecting portions of the Big Bend and Panhandle.

The statement says the forecast calls for 10-15 inches of rain in locations from Tampa to Pensacola through the next five days with isolated areas receiving over 18 inches.

Flash flooding could also occur in areas that receive rain amounts in excess of 3 inches in a short period of time.

It’s not a tropical storm, but the type of rain resembles it. And since it’s not moving anywhere fast, the water will really begin to pile up this week. Flood Watches are in effect through Tuesday along the Nature Coast from Cross City to Crystal River, extending north to Hamilton County along the Georgie border. The heavy rain and flood risk will shift west into much of the Florida Panhandle by midweek, with seemingly no end in sight to the wet pattern anytime soon.

Flash Flood and Areal Flood Warnings were posted early Monday morning in the Suwannee River Valley where 4 to 8 inches of rain quickly accumulated overnight.

Earlier in the weekend, the rain was heaviest in Levy and Citrus Counties, where between 4 and 6 inches is estimated to have fallen since Saturday.

A weak area of low pressure connected to a pipeline of tropical moisture is to blame for the ongoing deluge. The center of the swirl came ashore north of Cedar Key Sunday morning, but since steering currents aloft are weak, it will wander around in the vicinity of North Florida for several days. The heaviest rain will fall near and southeast of the center of the low pressure system, where the confluence of tropical moisture and lift in the atmosphere are colocated.

Forecast data suggests that the soggy storm system will begin to drift west by midweek, taking the heavy rain threat with it into the Florida Panhandle. A southwest flow out of the Gulf will continue to keep tropical moisture in place for much of the peninsula, though, aiding in the development of more afternoon thunderstorms with heavy rain. By the end of the week, a drier air mass is expected to move in from the east, resulting in fewer downpours across the peninsula, but the significant rain may continue in the panhandle for several more days.

Customized alerts, including flood warnings from the National Weather Service, and 36 hours of future radar are available on the mobile app Florida Storms.

Sandbags

Sandbags are available at several locations in Hillsborough County.

Tampa:

Hours of operation: 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

  • Bobby Hicks Pool, 4201 W. Mango Ave.
  • Barksdale Active Adult Center at MacFarlane Park, 1801 N. Lincoln Ave.
  • Jackson Heights Community Center, 3310 E. Lake Ave.

Hillsborough County:
Hours of operations: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

  • West Service Unit, 9805 Sheldon Road
  • South Service Unit,  8718 Old Big Bend Road
  • East Service Unit, 4702 Sydney Road

Tarpon Springs

  • Dorsett Park, 500 E. Harrison St.
  • Splash Park, 508 E. Live Oak St.
  • Roosevelt Boulevard Roundabout at Dodecanese Avenue

Pasco
Hours of operation: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • West Pasco Government Center, 7356 State St.
  • J.W. Mitchell Park, 4025 Little Road
  • Veterans Memorial Park, 14333 Hicks Road

New Port Richey
Hours of operation: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • 6240 Pine Hill Road

Flooding problems

In Tampa, residents can report flooding issues and road problems by calling (813) 274-3101 in Tampa or (813) 635-5400 in other parts of Hillsborough County.