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Forecast: Cristobal Will Produce A Soggy, Stormy Next Few Days Across Tampa Bay

boats at Safety Harbor marina
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA
Clouds and rain associated with Tropical Storm Cristobal build over Safety Harbor.

Tropical Storm Cristobal may be well offshore and on a forecast track toward Louisiana, but its effects will be felt across Tampa Bay for at least the next few days.

Cristobal continues to make its northward trek in the central Gulf of Mexico toward the Gulf Coast, according to Megan Borowski, meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network.

RELATED: Tropical Storm Warning Issued For Emerald Coast

But as it does, it’s dragging winds from the south-southwest and tropical moisture that will produce widespread showers, periods of heavy rain, and isolated thunderstorms across the region through at least Wednesday.

“The moisture and energy both will support rounds of thunderstorms and torrential rain over our area over the next several days, which could lead to localized flooding -- both along the coasts and inland,” Borowski said. “On top of that, onshore winds should help pose a threat of storm surge flooding near the coasts, especially toward high tide times.”

All of west-central and southwest Florida remain under a flood watch through Sunday as the drenching rains could produce localized flooding in low-lying areas, flooding along coastal areas, and ponding on roadways.

The biggest threat for flooding, forecasters say, is in the Nature Coast from Aripeka on the Pasco-Hernando County border north to the Suwannee River. The Nature Coast can expect 2-4 feet of storm surge, and the Suncoast southward could experience 1 to 3 feet of surge.

In addition to coastal flooding, Florida’s west coast can expect high surf and an elevated risk for rip currents.

While Cristobal is expected to make landfall Sunday night into Monday, forecasters say the periods of rain will linger through the middle of next week, when drier air will begin to filter in starting Wednesday and into the end of the week.