PINELLAS COUNTY – Cooler and drier air is filtering into Tampa Bay in the wake of strong thunderstorms that passed overnight.
The National Weather Service in Ruskin on Wednesday morning issued a fire weather watch, high surf advisory and wind chill advisory for all of the Tampa Bay area. Pinellas County officials advised that cold night shelters would open between 6 and 6:30 p.m. A small craft advisory also is in effect through late Wednesday night.
Wind Chill Advisory
A wind chill advisory will be in effect from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Thursday. According to the National Weather Service, cold minimum temperatures and northerly winds will produce cold wind chill values.
A wind chill advisory is issued when wind chill index values are expected to drop to 25 degrees or lower.
The weather forecast for Wednesday night calls for a low of around 44 with north-northwest winds between 15 and 16 mph with gusts as high as 23 mph. Wind chill values are low as 37 degrees are expected in the early morning hours.
Pinellas County officials announced that cold night shelters would be open for the homeless, from between 6 and 6:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Thursday. People staying at a shelter are provided with a hot evening meal, a warm place to spend the night and breakfast the next morning.
For more information about the shelters, call Michael Amidei at 727-543-2600 or Cliff Smith at 727-464-8448.
NWS meteorologists forecast that cold weather conditions will continue through Friday.
High Surf Advisory
The NWS also issued a high surf advisory in effect until 4 a.m. Thursday. Meteorologists said strong high pressure building into the region is producing breezy northwesterly winds generating large breaking waves of 3 to five feet along area beaches.
Beachgoers are advised that rip currents and strong undertow are possible and urged to heed lifeguard warnings.
Small Craft Advisory
A small craft advisory remains in effect through late Wednesday night. Northwest winds of 20 to 25 knots and gusty seas are forecast throughout the afternoon. Seas of 5 to 7 feet can be expected near the coast and 9 to 11 feet offshore.
Tonight north gusty winds of 25 knots are forecast with seas 6 to 8 feet subsiding to 5 to 7 feet after midnight in bay and inland waters.
Fire Weather Watch
A fire weather watch is effect from Thursday morning through Thursday afternoon.
According to the NWS, as cooler and drier air filters into the area, relative humidity will drop below critical levels, creating a heightened risk of fires.