A cold front is pushing through Tampa Bay, bringing chilly temperatures expected to last until at least Wednesday.
A strong cold front will move through Tampa Bay this afternoon and tonight, bringing in a “very cold air mass” that will stick around through Wednesday night, according to the latest National Weather Service advisory.
Tonight’s lows will drop into the mid-40s with northwest winds around 20 mph gusting to 40 mph. Wind chill values will drop into the 20s and 30s. Wednesday’s highs should make it into the mid-50s and sunny skies are expected. Northwest winds of 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 30 mph will make for a chilly start to the day. Lows are expected to drop down to the low 40s.
A lake wind advisory continues through 7 p.m. Winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph will make boating conditions hazardous on area lakes.
High surf advisory remains in effect until 4 p.m. Wednesday and rip current risk is in effect through Wednesday afternoon. The NWS said large breaking waves would occur at area beaches with surf heights up to 7 feet along the Pinellas County coast. Surf will build along quickly overnight and begin to subside during the day.
Beachgoers are advised to heed lifeguard warning and that even strong swimmers can be caught in a rip current, which is a powerful channel of water flowing quickly away from shore, most likely at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and near structures such as groins, jetties and piers.
Persons caught in a rip current should remain calm and begin to swim parallel to shore until away from the force of the current. Then, they can swim back to shore. Do not attempt to swim against a rip current.
A small craft advisory also is in effect for all Gulf water through early afternoon on Wednesday. The NWS advises that fishermen and other small craft operators may want to postpone trips until weather conditions improve. Seas are expected to build to 5 to 9 feet near shore and 7 to 11 feet offshore.
Cold weather shelters opening
Cold night shelters will be opening Wednesday night. Shelters open at 6 p.m. and close at 6 a.m. People seeking shelter will be served a hot evening meal, a warm place to spend the night and breakfast the next morning.
Shelters for adult men and women:
- Clearwater Primary Shelter: Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church, 110 S. Ft. Harrison Ave.; capacity 75. Church Phone: 727-442-3677.
- Clearwater Back-up Shelter: St. Cecelia Catholic Church, 820 Jasmine Way; capacity 45. Church Phone: 727-447-3494
- Pinellas Park: Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast in Pinellas Park, 7790 61st St. N.; capacity, 150. Phone: 727-574-5437. Transportation to and from this shelter and downtown St. Petersburg will be provided by Boley Inc.
- St. Petersburg: Northwest Presbyterian Church, 6330 54th Ave. N., St. Petersburg; capacity 75. Church phone: 727-544-4551.
- St. Petersburg: Salvation Army, 1400 Fourth St. S., capacity 25. Phone: 727-822-4954
- St. Petersburg: The Turning Point, 1810 Fifth Ave. N.; capacity, 25. Phone: 727-823-7811
- Tarpon Springs: St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, 812 E. Tarpon Ave.; capacity 25. Phone: 727-479-2914
Families with children will be placed in motels on cold nights. To arrange for shelter, call Sarah Snyder at 727-424-1355 (cell), 727-528-5762 (office) or Cliff Smith at 727-698-1809 (cell) or 727-893-7627 (office).
Chilly temperatures will continue with Thursday’s high possibly creeping up to near 60 before nighttime temperatures return to the low- to mid-40s. Friday’s high will be about the same with nighttime temperatures heating up to the low-50s.
Saturday is forecast to be partly cloudy with a high in the mid-60s with a low near 50. A chance of rain on Sunday accompanies a high of around 69 and a low of 55.