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Closures mount with grim weekend weather forecast

Rain began falling throughout the Tampa Bay area Friday morning, giving us the first taste of what will be a very wet and windy weekend.

"It (the rain) is pretty much going to be an all-day thing," said National Weather Service forecaster Nicole Carlisle. "And it won't clear up until tomorrow afternoon, when we expect the cold front to pass through."

Temperatures began dropping last night and will stay around the 50s to 60s through Sunday, with some areas of Hillsborough and Hernando counties dipping into the upper 40s on Saturday morning.

A flood watch is in effect throughout the area, with areas near rivers or poor drainage at risk. Most counties will get between 1 to 3 inches of rain, Carlisle said.

Boating is not advised Friday or Saturday, mainly because of the strong winds and choppy conditions, but "Sunday should be good," she said.

By Sunday, the skies should be partly sunny with highs in the 60s before we head into a warm week.

Because of inclement weather, several events have been closed throughout the Tampa Bay area:

• Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo is closed Friday, which includes Friday night's Wild Wonderland events. They will resume normal operations on Saturday.

• Tampa's Santa Fest has been canceled. The free family event, scheduled for Saturday in Ybor City, will not be rescheduled.

• The second annual "Miracle on Cleveland Street" in downtown Clearwater, with 40 tons of snow for children to frolic in, is postponed until the following Friday. Clearwater's holiday lighting ceremony in Station Square Park is postponed as well.

• Oldsmar's "Christmas Wonderland," in which children can slide down slopes of ice at R.E. Olds Park, is postponed until the following Friday.

• St. Petersburg's Carter G. Woodson African-American History Museum Christmas Tree Lighting has been postponed from Friday. It will now take place from 5-7:30 p.m. Sunday.

• Dunedin's "Old Fashioned Christmas," where machines sprinkle snow flakes onto the Pinellas Trail, is postponed until Dec. 12.

• The Pinellas County Health Department has postponed its drive-through H1N1 flu vaccine clinic that had been scheduled to take place Saturday. It will be rescheduled at an unknown future date.

• Plant City's Christmas parade has been postponed from tonight until 6 p.m. Dec. 11.

Times staff writers Kameel Stanley and Andy Boyle contributed to this report. Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8452.

Closures mount with grim weekend weather forecast 12/04/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 4, 2009 8:05pm]

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