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Forecasters say warmer weather coming
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After days and nights of record-breaking cold temperatures, slightly warmer weather is finally in the forecast – but it won’t be coming until later in the week.

Most Floridians stayed at home over the weekend as meteorologists continued to issue freeze warnings and wind child advisories. The coldest temperatures of the year were forecast for early Monday morning.

“For over a week now we have seen much below normal temperatures across west central and southwest Florida,” said a Sunday morning press release from the National Weather Service in Ruskin. “Although it is not unusual for us to see these temperatures each winter, it is rare that the cold weather lasts as long as it has.”

The NWS said the length of the cold spell had reached record criteria for Tampa and St. Petersburg where readings have not climbed above 60 degrees since Jan. 1. Forecasters said with a few more days of cool weather expected, it was possible that even more records could be broken.

Since Jan. 2, temperatures have been running 10 to 30 degrees below normal.

NWS forecast temperatures through Wednesday are expected to remain well below normal for this time of year. The normal high temperatures range in the upper 60s to mid 70s with overnight lows in the mid 40s to mid 50s.

Sunday’s high temperatures only climbed into the upper 40s and mid 50s, close to where the normal lows should be, the NWS said.

The cold high temperatures were just above the record low maximums for the date set 40 years ago at many locations.

The weather forecast for mid-Pinellas County calls for daytime temperatures to climb back into the mid 50s to near 60 by Tuesday with lows in the 40s; however, wind chill values are forecast as low as 34 early.

Pinellas County cold weather shelters have been open for more days than usual and supplies, such as paper products, coffee, twin-size blankets and sandwiches, are needed. Volunteers are always welcome. For more information, contact Michael Amidei at 727-543-2600 or Cliff Smith at 727-464-8448.

If the forecast holds true, this weekend will feel like a heat wave with daytime highs in the low 70s and lows well above freezing.
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