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Periods of rain, then clearing skies for the Tampa Bay area as a tropical system crosses Florida

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Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Skies should clear across the Tampa Bay area by Sunday, bringing lower rain chances.

The greater Tampa Bay region can expect periods of rain and gusty winds Saturday as Potential Tropical Cyclone One crosses the state, bringing heavy rains and potential flash flooding to South Florida.

Coastal areas from Sarasota to the south, along with Polk County, remain under a Tropical Storm Warning on Saturday morning, and Sarasota, DeSoto, Highlands, Charlotte and Lee counties are under a flood watch, according to the National Weather Service.

READ MORE: Tropical Storm Warnings likely to bring flash flooding to Southwest Florida through Saturday

While the impacts of the system will largely be felt from Fort Myers to the south, breezy winds could cause a high risk of rip currents along Tampa Bay area beaches.

A small craft advisory is in effect from Tarpon Springs to Englewood through Saturday night as the system could produce very strong winds and seas rising from 5-8 feet.

Forecasters say portions of South Florida could see rainfall totals of 6-10 inches, with maximum isolated totals of 15 inches. Areas along Florida's West Coast — including Longboat Key — could see storm surge of 1-2 feet.

Skies should clear across the Tampa Bay area by Sunday, bringing lower rain chances. By Monday and through the rest of the week, winds from the east will produce inland showers and thunderstorms, moving toward the coast through the early evening.

Once the system crosses into the Atlantic by Saturday night, forecasters say it could re-intensify and become Tropical Storm Alex. It could further strengthen as it moves away from the coast over the western Atlantic.

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