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Tropical Storm Cristobal Moving Into Gulf Of Mexico, Could Bring Coastal Flooding, Rain To Tampa Bay


Coastal flooding and rip currents will be the main concerns for the Tampa Bay area this weekend as Tropical Storm Cristobal makes its way north through the Gulf of Mexico.

The storm reintified into a tropical storm on Friday afternoon and was dumping rain on portions of Mexico, according to forecasters with the National Hurricane Center.

Cristobal is moving to the north at 12 mph and is forecast to continue moving to the north, emerging in the southern Gulf of Mexico by Friday night.

At that point, forecasters expect it to quick move through the Gulf. It is expected to be in the central Gulf on Saturday, and the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday and Sunday night ahead of a projected landfall near the Louisiana/Mississippi coast.

Maximum winds are near 35 mph, but forecasters say Cristobal will gradually strengthen into a tropical storm again as it moves through the Gulf.

Ray Hawthorne, meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, said the Tampa Bay area can expect off-and-on showers through the weekend.

“It’s likely Cristobal will regain tropical storm status late tonight or Saturday as it moves back over the warm Gulf waters,” Hawthorne said. “The storm’s circulation is large enough to bring outer rain bands to the Florida Panhandle and Florida’s west coast as soon as late Saturday night or Sunday morning.”

Hawthorne said 1-3 inches of rain is possible Sunday across the Tampa Bay area, despite Cristobal’s center making landfall over Louisiana. The rain may lead to localized areas of flooding, and coastal areas along the west coast of Florida remain under a flood watch through Sunday night.

Information from the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network contributed to this report.

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