PINELLAS COUNTY – Near record cold temperatures were reported Thursday morning, and cold north winds created dangerous wind chill for anyone out and about.
The National Weather Service cancelled all watches and warnings on Thursday morning except a high surf advisory, which continues until 1 p.m., and a small craft advisory continues until 7 p.m. A red flag warning is in effect from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Gusty north winds over the beaches continued to generate high surf conditions on Thursday morning. NWS said conditions should improve by early afternoon. Beach goers were advised that that an elevated risk of rip current could linger.
Temperatures are forecast to remain cold through Friday, although not as cold as Thursday morning. Pinellas County weather station in Clearwater reported a low of 29.8 degrees and a low of 31 degrees was reported at the St. Petersburg Clearwater Airport.
NWS meteorologist said temperatures stayed warmer than forecast in some areas.
“Looks like the wind helped keep temps a couple degrees above forecast lows for the morning,” NWS said. “As we mentioned yesterday, had the wind gone calm for an hour or so before sunrise, we could have seen widespread mid 20s for lows across west central Florida.”
Shelters open Thursday night
Pinellas County’s cold weather shelters will be open again on Thursday night. People who need a warm place to stay can go to one of five shelters starting between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Guests will receive a hot evening meal and breakfast the next morning. The shelters close will close about 6 a.m.
For more information about the shelters, call Michael Amidei at 727-543-2600 or Cliff Smith at 727-464-8448.
Warming trend on the way
NWS forecasts that the cold ridge of high pressure centered over the Mississippi River Valley will gradually begin to move toward the coast on Friday. Temperatures for Pinellas are forecast to drop down to around 39 degrees by early Friday morning.
No freeze watches or warnings had been issued for Pinellas. Another night of freezing temperatures was expected in Levy, Citrus, Sumter and Hernando counties.
Thanks to a warming trend, Friday should be 10 degrees warmer than Thursday with a forecast high of 65 degrees.
Looking to the weekend, highs are forecast at around 70 degrees with lows between the 55 and 60 degrees.