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Advisories, watches in effect
Cold returns, shelters opening
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Another blast of cold air is moving into Tampa Bay, and cold night shelters are opening on Wednesday and Thursday.

The National Weather Service office in Ruskin issued wind chill advisory in effect from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday. A freeze watch is in effect for late Wednesday night through Thursday morning. A small craft advisory continues through Thursday afternoon.

North winds at 10 to 15 mph combined with air temperatures in the 30s to 40s could produce several hours of wind chill readings from the low 20s in the north to the low 30s south Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The coldest temperatures are expected just before sunrise.

Forecasters say that a “very strong area of Arctic high pressure will build south out of the plains and into the deep south late on Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to fall below freezing around midnight Thursday and remain below freezing until mid-morning Thursday.”

Temperatures should reach the upper 20s around sunrise. Three to five hours of temperatures below 32 degrees are possible across most of west central and southwest Florida.

The NWS advises residents to take precautionary measures due to the potential for widespread and damaging freeze conditions.

Wind speeds of 20 to 33 knots are forecast in the Gulf of Mexico through Thursday with seas of seven-feet or higher, creating dangerous conditions for small crafts. Boaters are advised to stay off the waters.

Cold night shelters are opening for the homeless in Pinellas County on Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 12-13. The shelters will open between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. for adult men and women. Shelter guests are provided with a hot evening meal, a warm safe place to spend the night and breakfast before the shelters close at 6 a.m.

Supplies such as paper products, coffee, twin-size blankets and sandwiches are always needed. Volunteers are welcome. For more information, contact Michael Amidei at (543-2600 or Cliff Smith at 464-8448.

Families with children are placed in motels on cold nights and family coordinators make the arrangements. For help in Clearwater, call Lewis Hill at 644-4795. In St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park, call Jim Leiby at 433-2115. In Tarpon Springs, call Mary Dekasin 479-2914.

The Salvation Army Clearwater may be able to provide shelter to homeless families, according to Pinellas County Communications. Please call Kip Corriveau at 446-6507 for availability of rooms.

Shelters for adult men and women

- Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church, 110 S. Ft. Harrison Ave., Clearwater, FL 33756. Church Phone: 442-3677; Capacity: 75.

- St Cecelia Catholic Church, 820 Jasmine Way, Clearwater, FL 33756. Church Phone: 447-3494; Capacity: 45; backup shelter.

- Trinity Church of the Nazarene, 1000 55th St. S., Gulfport, FL 33707. Church Phone: 321-1598. Capacity: 20.

- Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast in Pinellas Park, 7790 61st St. N., Pinellas Park, FL 33781. Phone: 574-5437; Capacity: 250. Transportation to and from this shelter and downtown St Petersburg will be provided by Boley Inc. Call John Greenwood, transportation coordinator at 637-3277.

- Northwest Presbyterian Church, 6330 54th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33706. Church Phone: 544-4551; Capacity: 75.

- Salvation Army, 1400 Fourth St. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Phone: 822-4954 or 687-8414; Capacity: 25

- The Turning Point, 1810 Fifth Ave. N., St Petersburg, FL 33713. Phone: 823-7811 or 641-1903; Capacity: 25

- St Timothy’s Lutheran Church, 812 E. Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs, FL 34689. Phone: 937-3503; Capacity: 25

Fire watch and red flag warning

A red flag warning is effect for Wednesday afternoon for most of the state, including Pinellas County. A fire weather watch has been issued for Thursday afternoon.

The NWS said drier air would move into the area with the passage of the cold front, bringing low humidity to the area.

The NWS predicts that afternoon humidity readings will fall below 35 percent for four hours on Wednesday afternoon, which will allow for rapid spread of any fire. Similar conditions are expected on Thursday.
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