ST. PETERBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - The Sunshine Skyway Bridge reopened late Friday afternoon after high winds shut down the bridge in both directions to traffic Friday morning.
Around 8 a.m., Florida Highway Patrol troopers said the wind speeds accelerated to 57 mph, and were gusting at 64 mph, forcing the decision to close all lanes on the iconic bridge. Within an hour, the winds picked up to 68 mph, gusting to 78 mph. Officials typically shut down bridge traffic when winds reach speeds of at least 40 mph.
The bridge opened around 4:50 p.m. Friday afternoon just in time for the evening commute, troopers said. Winds were clocked at about 25 to 33 mph, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
People across the Bay Area woke up to a windy morning. Gale and lake wind advisories were in effect until 1 p.m. Friday following the long day of rain just the day before. A coastal flood warning was in effect until 6 p.m.
"This cold front is still impacting our area today," explained FOX 13's meteorologist Dave Osterberg. "Please stay off any water."
He explained that there will be quick and sporadic rain clouds throughout the day.
"What's also happening is that colder air moving over that relatively warmer water in the Gulf generating showers," Osterberg said. "Expect a few showers in your area today. Expect them to be fast-moving -- about 8-9 minutes and their gone."
Good news is the sunshine returns for the weekend. Christmas Day is expected to be sunny and dry.