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Sunday, Nov 18, 2018
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After more possible record heat, Tampa Bay could finally see a fall cool-down

Tampa Bay may see another record-breaking high Monday as temperatures and humidity return after a brief respite this weekend.

But for those wanting to break out their sweatshirts and other cool-weather gear, thereís hope.

A high-pressure system, which has dominated the region and produced these scorching temperatures since September, is forecast to weaken at the end of the week and begin moving south.

"This high-pressure system has been over us for a month an a half," said Tony Hunt, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. "The system isnít particularly unusual, but it is stronger than it normally would be this time of year."

This high-pressure system will normally settle over the East Coast throughout the summer, but now its been pretty much contained to just the Southeast ó and primarily over Florida.

EXTENDED FORECAST: The 10-day outlook for the Tampa Bay area

Last week, as Michael traveled north through the Gulf of Mexico, this high-pressure system acted as a barrier to keep the hurricane from steering further east, thus protecting Tampa Bay. But it also keeps out cool weather sweeping in from the north and west, and after the hottest September on record, folks may be ready for it to move away.

"It doesnít look to be breaking apart this week," Hurt said. "But at the end of the week it looks like that might change. I can say there is a glimmer of hope."

Hurt said cold fronts, which originate near the poles, move through the northern United States and slowly chisel away at this high-pressure system on their way south. When they begin to break through, Tampa Bay will see scattered days of cooler weather. Saturday would have been a small sample size of the more comfortable conditions to come.

"This weekend was a good example of the fall cool-down," Hurt said. "Saturday was like our one-day sample size."

But the heat and humidity roared back Monday, and it may set a new record high. There have also been reports of fog in scattered areas of the region early Monday morning.

Expect to see partly cloudy skies Monday and temperatures rocketing into the lower 90s, approaching Tampaís record high of 92 set in 1990, forecasters said.

A few isolated storms could pop up around the area, but most of Tampa Bay by the late afternoon they will be sparse and dissipate quickly. Overnight temperatures will drop back to the mid 70s with partly cloudy skies.

Expect similar conditions Tuesday, with highs in the lower 90s and fairly clear skies.

The first half of the week should remain fairly dry with rain chances set below 20 percent until Friday.

Over the weekend, a chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms increase, and forecasters are predicting another cold front to begin pressing into the area.

In the Caribbean, the National Hurricane Center is keeping eyes on an area of low pressure spreading in the western Caribbean Sea that has a 40 percent chance of development in the next two days as it moves inland near Central America later this week.

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