MANATEE -- Friday’s “weather Olympics” featuring Manatee residents jumping over rain puddles, tip-toeing through high water and stretching yoga-style to get over soaked lawns are apparently over for awhile.
To the delight of most, the only skyworks on tap for the July Fourth weekend are the kind that are man-made.
After a run of storm cells passed through the county Friday resulting from westerly air flow and lots of tropical moisture, forecasters were predicting sunny and clear skies for today and Sunday and only a 30 percent of rain Monday, and that would most likely occur in the late afternoon, said meteorologist Ernie Jillson with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.
“We’re changing the weather pattern from the wet days we have been having,” Jillson said.
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The chances for rain today are 20 percent to 30 percent and the chances for Sunday are 10 percent to 20 percent.
On Monday, July 4, the chances go back up to 30 percent, but the forecast shows that if there are showers they should be late in the afternoon and not impede the evening’s fireworks.
The storm cells that repeatedly hit Bradenton on Friday were part of an unusual weather pattern that lasted several days and saw an unusually high 60 percent to 70 percent chances of rain each day and morning rain rather than afternoon rain.
“That’s because we have some deep tropical moisture over the region that doesn’t take as much heating to form,” Jillson said when asked why the rain was coming so early in the day. “Also, we have had a westerly air flow the last few days, so, these early morning rains have developed over warm Gulf waters over night and move to the coast in the morning.”
The other unusual thing about the recent rain is that it is what Jillson calls “variable.” That means it may rain in one area and not rain a mile away.
As an example, Sara- sota-Bradenton Interna- tional Airport, where official rainfall amounts are recorded, only 1.2 inches of rain fell in the entire month of June.
The airport’s official status, however, will make this June the second driest month for the Manatee-Sarasota area in recorded history, Jillson said.
The normal amount of rain for June is 7.41 inches.
The cells moving through the area all day Friday will also help the soil moisture and reduce the chance for wildfires, Jillson said.
“There are still dry pockets, but this certainly helps,” Jillson said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.