Forecast: Another cold night before weekend warmup

- It’s going to be another chilly night around Central Florida, but a weekend warmup is in the forecast.

Early Thursday morning, Tampa tied a record low of 29, and even coastal St. Petersburg saw its first freeze since 2008.  But the coldest reading in the Tampa Bay area came from Lecanto, which dropped to 16 degrees.

“This morning, it was colder in Tampa than it was at the same time in International Falls, Minnesota – which has the nickname ‘the nation’s ice box,’” FOX 13 Chief Meteorologist Paul Dellegatto said.

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The cold night gave way to a breezy, chilly day.  Paul Dellegatto says high pressure is building tonight, but that will mean more cold air.

“Instead of having a wind-driven cold like we had last night and this morning, tonight’s cold will be radiational cooling.  That’s the one that’s kind of tough to predict because you can get some pockets of very cold air,” he explained.  “There could be some mid- to upper-20s again tonight.”

Freeze warnings are again in effect for much of inland Central Florida, but unlike last night, not for the urban areas of Tampa.  A hard freeze warning is in effect for inland Pasco and points north.

Thursday night will be the last gasp of this cold blast.  A slow warmup into the mid 60s will begin Friday, just in time for Saturday’s Gasparilla Kids Parade, and then 70s by Sunday.

“I would get set for a long stretch of temperatures running above average next week,” Dellegatto added.

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