TAMPA — Maybe it was all that bragging about how warm and balmy December was in Tampa. Perhaps it was bad karma to rejoice while playing a round of golf in short sleeves while the upper Midwest and Northeast got slammed by storms and cold and ice.
It’s time to pay for all that smugness. By Friday morning, it will be cold and wet. Will winter ever end?
Temperatures this morning are expected to dip to the mid 40s, with winds gusting up to 28 mph, according to forecasters with the National Weather Service in Ruskin. The wind chill will make it feel like 37 degrees.
The clouds and rain that pushed through the region late Thursday afternoon and overnight brought in the cold snap, dropping temperatures by 30 degrees. Friday’s forecast also calls for a 60 percent chance of rain.
Weather service meteorologist Nicole Carlisle said the cold front is part of the overall system that is bringing freezing temperatures and snow to much of the northern United States.
“Winds behind that front will turn from the northwest and will get gusty and usher in a much colder and dryer air mass,” she said.
Friday’s high should be in the mid 50s, with gusty winds from the north. Saturday morning will be colder, with the low expected around 38 degrees.
The switch will be flipped on later in the day Saturday, though, as warm weather returns to the region. Highs on Saturday should be about 74, with warm east winds. Lows on Saturday shouldn’t drop below the mid 50s.
“We will warm up to our normal values, which is about 70 degrees for the high,” Carlisle said.
The storms in the Northeast and Great Lakes area caused numerous flight delays at Tampa International Airport on Thursday.
By 4 p.m., there were 183 reported delays; 79 departures averaging 58 minutes and 104 arrivals averaging 60 minutes. Departures to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City were delayed by an average of five hours, said airport spokeswoman Emily Nipps.
Twenty-three flights flying into and leaving Tampa International were cancelled on Thursday, she said.
Delays were expected to continue through the evening and into Friday morning. Travelers, she said, should check with their airlines before coming to the airport.
January is typically the coldest month of the year in West Central Florida. The next cold front is expected to arrive early next week.