More Rain Could Mean River Flooding Across Tampa Bay
In anticipation of more heavy rain this week, the National Weather Service in Tampa has issued a Flood Watch for all of west-central Florida through Friday morning, with particular attention being paid to several rivers in the region.'
The watch includes locations from Cedar Key to Fort Myers, including the Tampa Bay area, Lakeland, Sarasota, Bradenton and The Villages.
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Saturated soils from a wet summer and periodic heavy rainfall over the coming days are likely to contribute to areas of street flooding. The additional rain might also delay the recession of several nearby rivers that recently exceeded flood stage, or even cause them to rise again. Rivers prone to additional flooding are the Hillsborough River, Alafia River, Horse Creek, Myakka River, and Peace River.
An approaching front is expected to stall across the Florida Panhandle on Thursday. Ahead of it, a rich flow of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will likely cause numerous showers and thunderstorms to develop across areas from Florida’s Big Bend to the Suncoast.
The activity will likely be most prevalent near coastal areas in the morning hours, spreading inland and farther east by afternoon.
Rainfall totals through Friday will be in the 1-3 inch range for most areas in the Flood Watch. Locally higher amounts up to 5 inches will be possible closer to the Gulf Coast.
As is often the case, rainfall totals could vary significantly from place to place, but a few areas may receive over an inch of rain in one episode. Localized flooding will be possible where the cells are the most concentrated or persistent in the coming days.
Current forecast data suggests the wetter pattern over the state will last into Friday, and possibly the weekend, as a weak area of low pressure develops in the northeast Gulf of Mexico and keeps the moisture stream in place.
Meteorologist Jeff Huffman contributed to this report.