Summer officially starts (unofficially it's been here a while)
Fishermen try their luck at the boat launch pier at Ballast Point Park on Friday. CHRIS URSO/STAFF
Published: June 21, 2013
Updated: June 21, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Summer arrived today with slightly lower temperatures and humidity, but afternoon thunderstorms are expected to bring heavy rain, gusts and lightning to parts of the Tampa Bay area. In other words, much like the final days of spring. The solstice, which officially began at 1:04 a.m., opens with the longest day of the year - 13 hours, 55 minutes from sunrise to sunset in the region. Morning temperatures and humidity were actually a bit lower than the previous day, said News Channel 8 meteorologist Leigh Spann. A change in winds from the southeast, instead of the warmer flow from the Gulf of Mexico, makes the morning more tolerable. Summer's first afternoon, however, brings expected highs around 90 and a 60 percent chance of rain. The forecast repeats throughout the weekend, meaning pools and beaches should be popular if you don't have to do yard work. If you do go outside throughout the summer months, be mindful of the heat index, a measure combining temperature and humidity. A heat index from 90 to 104 would bring a warning for extreme caution, according to the National Weather Service. Higher than that would be in a dangerous category.