By Carl Lisciandrello
Tropical Storm Barry may be far from the Tampa Bay area, but its impact will still be felt locally well into the weekend.
One strong indication that the storm is moving farther away is the first glimpse of clear skies we’ve had in quite a few days, with more sun than clouds on Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
But folks who are hoping to enjoy some beach time should be extremely cautious, as conditions will remain hazardous through the weekend.
“Beach waters will remain dangerous along the west Gulf Coast with a high rip current risk through this evening from Pinellas County to Fort Myers,” said Cyndee O’Quinn, a meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network.
Barry’s counterclockwise circulation will produce gusty winds from the south that could make conditions treacherous for boaters as winds could reach 15-20 knots and seas up to 5 feet through the weekend, according to the weather service.
The scattered showers and intermittently strong storms that have been so prevalent this week will maintain a presence on Friday, forecasters said. There is a 60% chance of rain today under mostly cloudy skies and stiff breezes from the south that will enhance our sticky feel and fuel those rain chances.
The region will see a bit of a reprieve from the rain starting Saturday and into next week as a more normal summertime pattern returns, forecasters said. This means a continued 40% chance of showers forming in the Gulf of Mexico and moving inland.