Cold and windy weather again Monday

Weather that chilled the Tampa Bay area Sunday is expected to linger today, bringing yet more colder temperatures and wind.

Temperatures today are expected to reach only the upper 40s, although some areas farther inland could get to the low 50s, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik. Skies will be partly cloudy, but no rain is expected.

Winds will remain strong, but with gusts up to 20 mph they'll be a little less fierce than the gusts the area experienced Sunday, Kacmarik said. The winds will curtail in the evening when the cooler temperatures settle in.

Tonight, a hard freeze — when temperatures reach 27 degrees or lower for at least three hours — is expected in Citrus and Hernando counties.

The rest of the bay area will be greeted early Tuesday morning by lows in the upper 20s and low 30s, she said.

Cold weather shelters for the homeless and those without adequate heat opened Sunday night in the bay area.

Officials from Pinellas County, which typically is a few degrees warmer then the rest of the bay area because of its proximity to the water, said they expect shelters will open again beginning at 6 tonight.

Winds blowing in from the north are carrying colder and drier air to the state from an Arctic front. Farther north, storms have caused snowfall in the Midwest and blizzards and travel havoc along the East Coast.

But even with our temperatures dipping below freezing, we shouldn't expect a situation similar to the one in Jacksonville on Sunday, Kacmarik said

People there reported seeing snow flurries and sleet mixed with rain.

Though the snow wasn't expected to stick, National Weather Service meteorologist Marie Traybert said snow flurries are so rare in Jacksonville that some meteorologists there had never seen them, the Associated Press reported.

Temperatures in the bay area are expected to be back to normal for this time of year by Wednesday afternoon, when it warms up to the upper 60s, Kacmarik said.

By the end of the week, they'll be back in the 70s.

And just in time.

Fans in town for the Outback Bowl match-up between the Florida Gators and the Penn State Nittany Lions on News Year's Day will hold a "Beach Bash" competition at Pier 60 in Clearwater starting at 11 a.m. Thursday. It's forecast to get up to 72 the afternoon of the beach bash, and 76 the day of the game at Raymond James Stadium.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3374.

Cold and windy weather again Monday 12/26/10 [Last modified: Sunday, December 26, 2010 10:37pm]

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