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Forecast: Now that skies have cleared, frigid temperatures will reign across Tampa Bay

By Times staff
Mike Bajakian, right, adjusts the hat of Mary Bajakian, 6, center, while Anna Bajakian plays in the background at Cypress Point Park in Tampa on Jan. 3, 2018. The girls were playing school at home, and were watching nature videos. They asked their mom, Michelene Bajakian, if they could go to the beach and play "beach explorers" and dig for horseshoe crabs. "We weren't gonna let a little cold stop us," said Mike Bajakian. [GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | Times]

The rain may have finally broke this afternoon, but the un-Florida-like chill is still here.

And itís just going to get worse.

10News WTSP

Feels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area

Wake-up temperatures started in the low 40s this morning, accompanied by icy rain. It snowed in Tallahassee and there are winter storm warnings throughout the northern parts of the state.

The result? Icy roads as far south as Lake City, said 10Weather WTSP meteorologist Grant Gilmore.

On Wednesday morning, the Florida Highway Patrol closed a portion of Interstate 10 from Tallahassee to Madison as freezing rain creates hazardous driving conditions.

But despite clearing skies, the system is ushering in brisk northerly winds and a reinforcing blast of drier arctic air.

The threat of bad weather prompted Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa to close Wednesday at 1 p.m., it announced on Twitter. It is expected to reopen Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Busch Gardens in Tampa planned to close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday due to the falling temperatures.

Highs will reach the mid-50s, but gusts of up to 25-30 mph will produce feels-like temperatures in the low-to-mid 40s through the afternoon, Gilmore said.

Swaths of state are under freeze watches and warnings, including parts of Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, where temperatures could drop between 28 and 32 degrees.

Staying cold: Sub-freezing wind chill values forecast for Tampa Bay https://t.co/GPbUP2COzQ pic.twitter.com/lUC8sXZWik

— 10News WTSP (@10NewsWTSP) January 3, 2018

Those gusts could result in high-wind advisories for the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Temperatures on Wednesday night will fall into the mid-to-upper 30s ó and at or below freezing in parts of northern Tampa Bay ó with wind chills in the upper 20s heading into Thursday morning, Gilmore said.

Expect highs in the mid 50s and lows in the low to mid 30s, through Friday, with slight warming on Saturday.

A soggy morning so far from Sarasota area northward. Even some light freezing rain is being reported as far south as Chiefland in Levy county. The rain will end later today, and then the coldest air of the season so far arrives for the rest of the week. #flwx pic.twitter.com/z8Udqcd2bG

— NWS Tampa Bay (@NWSTampaBay) January 3, 2018

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