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Think it's bad out now? The worst will start at 4

The forecast is 3-5 inches of rain and a flood watch through the night for Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties.

Published June 10, 2005

If you have to run an errand outside, now is the time to do it.

The heaviest weather related to Tropical Storm Arlene is expected locally around 4 p.m. today in Pinellas County and roll north throughout the evening.

John McMichael, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin, said that because of heavier than normal rain the first couple of weeks of June, there is the chance of flooding.

A flood watch has been issued for Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties through the night.

McMichael said the outlying edges of Tropical Storm Arlene could dump three to five inches of rain on the Tampa Bay area, with as many as seven inches possible in some coastal pockets, as Arlene moves northward toward the Alabama and Mississippi border.

The 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center said the storm has passed over the northwest tip of Cuba and is moving north at 13 miles per hour, with sustained wind gusts up to 60 mph. It's expected to make landfall along the Alabama and Mississippi coasts and Florida Panhandle Saturday evening.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for the northern coastline of the Gulf of Mexico, from Grand Isle, La., to St. Marks, Fla., and the Dry Tortugas. A tropical storm watch is in effect from West Grand Isle, La., to Morgan City, Fla.

Though the storm will pass well off the coast here, the worst of the related weather is east of the core of the storm.

McMichael said locally the chance of rain is between 80 and 90 percent. The rain, however, is not expected to be accompanied by thunderstorms or extreme wind. Winds are forecast at 15-20 mph on the coast, with gusts up to 30 mph. The worst of the weather should end by dinnertime Saturday.

[Last modified June 10, 2005, 12:21:02]

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