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A Wintry Blast Sends Temperatures Plunging Across Tampa Bay


A cold front is bringing some of the chilliest weather the region has seen all year. Here's how long it will last.

Residents across the greater Tampa Bay region are waking up Tuesday to some of the coldest weather of the year — a winter blast that will get even more intense before leveling off later this week.

Early-morning temperatures ranged from the mid to upper 30s across the Nature Coast to the low to mid 40s across the I-4 corridor under mostly cloudy skies — a drop of around 20 degrees compared to Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Fueled by brisk breezes out of the north and northwest, it feels another 3-5 degrees colder.

Despite clearing skies later in the morning, highs will struggle to reach a crisp 60 degrees in the immediate Tampa Bay area — and even chillier to the north — under clear skies and with dry air contributing to that wintry feel.

Lows Tuesday night will plunge to some of the lowest levels of the year, forecasters said, prompting Pinellas, Hernando and Citrus counties to open cold-weather shelters.

A freeze warning is in effect for the Nature Coast, inland Pasco County is under a freeze watch, and other areas could experience patchy frost as temperatures drop into the low 30s — and perhaps below freezing — to low 40s by Wednesday morning.

The chilly conditions are forecast to level off on Thursday as winds shift out of the east, before another cold front brings potentially heavy rain and thunderstorms ahead of another — somewhat modest — weekend cool-down.

I wasn't always a morning person. After spending years as a nighttime sports copy editor and page designer, I made the move to digital editing in 2000. Turns out, it was one of the best moves I've ever made.
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