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Tampa police change the route for the Gasparilla flotilla and are urging boaters to use caution

Boats docked outside the Tampa Convention Center
Victoria Crosdale
WUSF Public Media
Boaters participating in the Gasparilla flotilla are urged to use caution as a small craft advisory is in effect ahead of a cold front this weekend.

A small craft advisory will be in effect during Saturday's Gasparilla festivities ahead of a cold front that will cause temperatures to plummet, prompting Tampa police to change the invasion route.

The Tampa Police Department is urging boaters who plan to take part in Saturday's Gasparilla flotilla to use caution while changing the sailing route for the Gasparilla invasion.

In a press release Friday afternoon, the department announced "out of an abundance of caution" that the invasion will sail from the Port of Tampa Bay at noon, sail up the Ybor Channel, around Harbour Island, into the Seddon Channel, and end their journey at the Tampa Convention Center at 1 p.m.

The department is also strongly discouraging small vessels from participating in the flotilla.

The National Weather Service has issued a small craft advisory from Friday at 10 p.m. until Saturday at 7 p.m. as a cold front moves through the region.

GASPARILLA: Viewing locations, parking information, and what you need to know if you're going

In addition to the small craft advisory, the weather service has issued a high surf advisory for coastal waters along Manatee, Sarasota and Pinellas counties until Sunday at 1 a.m. It's also warns of dangerous surf, with waves of 5-7 feet possible.

This is ahead of a cold front that will arrive on Saturday morning, according to the weather service.

While skies will be clear, those attending the Gasparilla parade should be prepared to bundle up. A wind chill advisory is in effect for early Saturday morning as forecasters say highs will struggle to reach 50, with a wind chill Saturday night in the 30s with gusty winds from the northwest.

The cold blast is expected to be short-lived, as forecasters say conditions will improve for the first part of next week.

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