While Katia is expected to reach Major Hurricane status in the coming days, the only land area that appears to be in her path is the Island of Bermuda. Current forecast tracks keep the system off the US East Coast, and well away from Tampa Bay and Florida. However, the disturbance entering the Gulf of Mexico continues to show increasing signs of organization. The National Hurricane Center now places the chances of tropical cyclone development with this area at 60%, and encourages people along the northern Gulf of Mexico coastline to stay informed with the latest updates with the system. Though Tampa Bay may avoid a direct impact from what may become Tropical Storm or even Hurricane Lee, the storm could generate higher waves along the coastline. Also, dangerous rip currents may develop along the West-Central Florida coastline for the Labor Day weekend due to the proximity of this system. For more information about Katia, the disturbance entering the Gulf, and the rest of the Atlantic Basin, visit the National Hurricane Center website at: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ and the AccuWeather Hurricane Center website at: http://hurricane.accuweather.com/hurricane/index.asp. More potential tracks for these systems can be found at: http://centralstorm.wordpress.com and http://ExtremeStormCentral.com/.
Skies around Tampa Bay Wednesday varied from partly cloudy in Pinellas County to mostly cloudy in Hillsborough County. Like Tuesday, conditions remained dry until early evening. According to the National Weather Service, the only observation station that recorded measurable rain through 8 PM Wednesday was St. Petersburg (0.14”). However, both Tampa and MacDill reported rain or thunderstorms later in the day, so the totals may change before midnight. Highs actually stayed below normal Wednesday, ranging from 84 to 87 around the local area.
Thursday and Friday outlook
Tampa Bay residents and vacationers can expect Thursday’s weather to be quite similar to Wednesday’s conditions. Skies should remain mostly cloudy, and thunderstorm coverage will be 50-60%. Highs Thursday should range 85-90. By Friday, Tampa can expect a return to more typical summer time conditions, as thunderstorm coverage reduces to around 40%. Highs that day will be 87-93 under partly to mostly cloudy skies, and heat indices will reach 95-100. For more detailed forecast information, please visit the local National Weather Service website at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tbw/, or the Storm Team 8 Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/StormTeam8WFLA.