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Ana's remains likely to bring rain today; Bill now a major storm

MANATEE — Forecasters are predicting showers and thunderstorms today as the remnants of Tropical Depression Ana migrate here from the Caribbean, while Hurricane Bill continues to strengthen in the mid-Atlantic.

After dissipating, Ana is now not even strong enough to be considered a tropical depression, but she still could bring gusty winds in the 30 mph range and a 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, said Rick Davis, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

“Its remnants are expected to produce rainfall for our area for tomorrow,” said Davis. “We could see area wide a quarter of an inch, with locally heavier amounts of 1-2 inches.”

If you want to play golf, Davis recommended you do it early in the day.

“By the afternoon, our rain chances will increase as the day goes on,” he added. “Outdoor activities, plan for early as possible because as soon as we get a little heating, we’ll start to see showers, starting as soon as noon to 2 p.m. and becoming more widespread into the evening.”

He warned residents to check their hurricane kits and emergency supplies, as this week a string of storms made its way across the Atlantic and into Florida’s vicinity.

Unlike the dissipating Ana, Hurricane Bill, a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of near 125 mph, is forecast to continue to strengthen today. At 11 p.m. Tuesday, Bill was spinning 555 miles east of the Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 15 mph in the mid-Atlantic, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Bill was found by hurricane-hunter aircraft to have minimum central pressure of 952 mb or 28.11 inches.

“Bill remains a very impressive and symmetric hurricane in satellite imagery,” center meteorologists noted.

The official forecast for five days out predicted Bill would stay well offshore of Florida’s east coast, Davis said, adding, “That current trend looks good, the track looks very consistent with what the models are showing us.”

The National Hurricane Center advised residents of the Leeward Island to watch Bill closely in case of a shift in course, even though the forecast track took it a good distance from the islands.

Bill was expected to move in the vicinity of the Bahamas in four or five days.

Meanwhile, disorganized showers and thunderstorms extending from near Jamaica, across eastern Cuba to the central Bahamas were associated with the remnants of tropical depression Ana and an upper-level low pressure area.

“This activity is moving toward the west at 20 to 25 mph and will be spreading across the remainder of Cuba, the Bahamas and southern Florida during the next day or so,” the forecast said. “This system shows no signs of regeneration at this time and there is a low chance, less than 30 percent, of this system becoming a tropical cyclone again during the next 48 hours,” it said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 708-7908.

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