Temperatures will be colder than originally forecast tonight and in the morning. The National Weather Service changed its freeze watch to a warning for Tampa Bay.
A freeze warning is in effect from midnight through 9 a.m. Thursday for counties in west central and southwest Florida. A hard freeze warning is in effect for Levy and Citrus counties from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Forecasters say a “strong area of arctic high pressure will continue to push south out of the plains and into the deep south over the next few days.”
Shortly after midnight, temperatures should drop below freezing and continue to descend until they reach the mid to upper 20s around sunrise. Temperatures below 32 degrees are likely for three to six hours across most of the warning area. Coastal locations could stay warmer.
The NWS advises residents to cover or move indoors any cold sensitive plants and bring pets indoors.
A moderate risk of rip currents at area beaches as strong northerly winds continue over coastal waters through Thursday. A small craft advisory remains in effect for all offshore waters. The NWS advises fishermen and small craft operators to postpone trips until conditions improve.
A red flag warning is in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday and a fire weather watch has been issued for Thursday afternoon due to low humidity conditions associated with cooler and drier air moving into the area.
The NWS said humidity readings on Wednesday will fall below 35 percent for about four hours with similar conditions on Thursday afternoon. Low humidity increases the risk of rapid spread of fires.
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