What to expect
The primary concerns are hail, damaging winds and an isolated tornado.
We expect passing downpours throughout the day on Thursday, amounting to rainfall totals mostly between half an inch and an inch of rain. Within stronger storms we may see heavier rainfall totals.
We do not expect flooding to be a major concern.
Gusty winds, even outside of thunderstorms, will persist through the day on Thursday. When you wake up we expect sustained winds between 10 to 15 mph and gusts of wind between 15 to 20 mph.
By midday, the winds build to be sustained between 15 to 20 mph with gusts between 25 to 30 mph.
When to expect the storms
The showers and storms will begin to push onshore in Citrus and Hernando counties early Thursday morning, with the first showers arriving before 7 a.m. The showers will make their way across Citrus and Hernando counties between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. with showers moving into Pasco County between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Next up, the line of downpours moves into Pinellas, Hillsborough and Polk counties during the late morning through midday. It will not rain continuously during that time – we expect passing downpours.
The best chance for a severe storm will be on the leading edge of the storms as they move onshore from the Gulf of Mexico.
The lunch hour will be messy, with showers stretching across Pinellas, most of Hillsborough, northern Polk, and northern Manatee counties around noon. Those storms push south a bit by 3 p.m. into the rest of Polk and Manatee counties, and Sarasota as well.
By the evening commute, we will be getting a break in the rain in Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, northern Pinellas, northern Hillsborough and northern Polk counties. The showers will continue to drift southeastward across our area through sunset, when we will start to dry out for the overnight hours.
The cold front behind the storms moves through and turns us breezy and cool for Friday and Saturday. Temperatures will be chilly for mornings and evenings, with lows in the 50s and 60s. Afternoon temperatures will only be in the mid to low 70s with gusty winds sustained between 12 and 17 mph and gusts between 20 and 25 mph.
Sunday looks less windy. We wake up chilly in the 50s but warm into the mild upper 70s under mostly sunny skies.