In the forecast
The coldest weather of the season is about to descend on the Tampa Bay region, with some areas under a freeze watch. Several northern counties, including Hernando and Pasco, will be under a freeze watch starting tonight into Saturday morning. Temperatures are expected to drop into the upper 20s and low 30s, said Bay News 9. By Christmas, temperatures should be back in the mid 70s.
A winter snowstorm pounding the Midwest is likely to interrupt travel plans for thousands. Anyone flying out of Tampa International Airport over the next two weeks should check their flight's status with the airline, said airport spokeswoman Christine Osborn. That goes for people picking up passengers, particularly after the airport's recent change to "active loading only" outside baggage claim.
On the highways, AAA predicts the busiest Christmas travel season in six years. The volume of traffic may not match that of Thanksgiving weekend, but it won't be far behind, experts say. Of course, travelers will have plenty of company: Because of the high volume, the Florida Highway Patrol will step up its presence on roadways throughout the state, said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins.
Gas prices continue to decline. At several locations in the Tampa Bay area, the cost of a gallon of regular gas has dipped below $3. At least four locations on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater are offering gas at $2.97 a gallon, and six stations along Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park are selling it for $2.99.