Bradenton, Tampa Bay under thunderstorm watch

February 12, 2014 

Bradenton and the rest of Tampa Bay region is under a thunderstorm watch Wednesday evening. MARC R. MASFERRER/Bradenton Herald

With a line of strong storms approaching from the Gulf of Mexico, a severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Bradenton and the rest of the Tampa Bay area.

The watch goes through 11 p.m. Wednesday for Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, and Polk counties.

An earlier tornado warning for eastern Manatee County, near Myakka City, was cancelled.

Originally expected to arrive later Wednesday evening, the inclement weather will impact the region during the evening commute.

“There could be some strong to severe storms, with the primary risk being strong winds," Bay News 9 chief meteorologist Mike Clay said. "An isolated tornado can’t be ruled out. Dangerous lightning, heavy rain and some hail are also possible.”

The line of storms will come through ahead of a cold front that will drop temperatures by almost 20 degrees tomorrow. Unlike the recent fronts that were preceded by mainly light rain, this one could pack some punch.

"We have a potent low-pressure area, a strong cold front and a lot of energy in the atmosphere," Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker said. "We’ve gotten increasingly unstable with the limited sunshine we’ve had.

"Temperatures have warmed up to the 70s, and the dew points are rising. All these ingredients are coming together to create a good opportunity for some stronger storms."

Highs Thursday will be in the 50s, and it will be windy. On Friday morning, lows will be in the 40s in the Bay area and 30s in the north counties, Linker said.

A warming trend will begin on Friday and lead into a nice weekend.

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