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Cold Front Follows Zeta With A Cool Change This Weekend

Rain could move into the greater Tampa Bay region starting Thursday night, but a pleasant start to the work week is ahead.

Zeta's departure into the Carolinas and Mid Atlantic states will give way to a strong cold front that is expected to deliver a shot of cooler air this weekend to much of the state. Another front is likely to lower the temperatures even more early next week. 

Hurricane Zeta was downgraded to a tropical storm early Thursday morning. It continues to produce strong winds well inland over Georgia and the Carolinas that have knocked out power to millions of people in those areas. In Florida, top wind gusts reached nearly 60 mph in the Pensacola area Wednesday evening and tropical storm force gusts were observed as far east as Panama City around midnight Thursday. 

A cold front close behind Zeta was causing heavy showers in the Florida Big Bend and those showers are likely to extend into Northeast Florida Thursday afternoon. A thin line of showers is expected tonight as the front moves south into Central Florida, with scattered showers and perhaps a few thunderstorms on Friday in South Florida. Behind the front, noticeably cooler and drier air is expected over the Panhandle and North and Central Florida on Friday into the weekend. 

A secondary cold front is likely to arrive in the Panhandle and North and Central Florida Sunday night. Even cooler air is expected behind that front on Monday. In fact, highs may stay below 70 degrees on Monday in Pensacola, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and Gainesville. Highs are forecast to stay below 80 over most of the rest of the state Monday afternoon, except along the Gold Coast.  

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Ray Hawthorne
Megan Borowski