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Rain expected to subside for Fourth of July weekend

By ANDREA CORROZ
Tribune correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: July 2, 2013 at 09:55 PM

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The Fourth of July weekend isn't expected to be a complete washout but a chance of afternoon storms could still affect fireworks, parades and other festivities, meteorologists said.

Tampa Bay's weather will transition back to a typical summer pattern of regular afternoon thunderstorms starting Wednesday , said meteorologist Charlie Paxton, of the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

Rain chances will diminish in the upcoming days as winds shift away from the Gulf of Mexico and drier air enters the region from the Atlantic Ocean.

The Fourth of July will be more pleasant than the past few days, but there is still a chance of afternoon thunderstorms, Paxton said.

If it does rain, organizers could delay fireworks celebrations or cancel them entirely.

Organizers of the Temple Terrace 4th of July Celebration and Parade will wait for rain to stop in order to continue with the 9 p.m. fireworks show, said Christine Lewis, member service coordinator at the Temple Terrace Chamber.

If police cancel the show, due to severe weather, it will not be rescheduled, Lewis said.

Organizers of the Plant City Fourth celebration will reschedule the 9:15 p.m. fireworks show to Friday at the same time if the weather becomes an issue, said Leslie Dimas, administrative assistant at the Parks and Recreation Department.

Organizers of the Tarpon Springs Patriotic Picnic in the Park don't have a date set to reschedule the fireworks show if it is forced to be moved, said Judy Staley, research and information officer at Tarpon Springs City Hall.

If the weather causes a date change, it will be rescheduled within the next six months, Staley said.

At the Pasco County Fairgrounds, the Sparklebration will not reschedule its show if forced to cancel, said Virginia McKendree, office manager at the fairgrounds.

The Gulfport Centennial Celebration has no reschedule date but Justin Shea, technical events specialists for the city of Gulfport, said organizers would wait for the rain to stop before continuing with their 9 p.m. show.

For information about other shows and to contact organizers visit http://bit.ly/19OFqtN.

Highs temperatures on Thursday and Friday will reach the low-90s, with lows in the mid-70s. The rest of the weekend will continue to heat up but only by a few degrees.

However, no heat alert will be issued, Paxton said.

The rain may dampen celebrations but the good news is the recent moisture will keep the threat of wildfires low throughout the weekend, said Kristin Bennett, duty officer at Florida Forest Service.

The threat level was at 97 out of 800 on Tuesday, Bennett said.

Boaters on the Fourth will experience southeasterly winds of 11 to 13 knots.

Winds on Friday will be out of the southeast at 11 knots (8 to 10 knots at night), and winds are expected to decrease the rest of the weekend, Paxton said.

acarroz@tampatrib.com

Twitter: @andrea_carroz

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