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Cold is on the way for us, bitter cold for rest of nation

While parts of the country prepare for bitter temperatures and blizzard conditions, Tampa Bay is in for its own brand of cold weather misery Friday night.

After a front moves through, temperatures are predicted to dive into 30s in north and interior portions of the area.

Friday is forecast to be sunny but breezy with highs in the upper 50s. But overnight lows could do damage before the sun comes up Saturday morning.

The cold temps won't hang around, though, as Saturday and Sunday look to be mild with highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s. Then another cold burst arrives at the beginning of the week and pushes the temperatures down into the 40s at night. Cross divers at Tarpon Springs' annual Epiphany celebration could be in for a cold plunge Monday.

It's a different developing story for other parts of the nation. And that weather is already affecting flights at Tampa International Airport, where officials are advising travelers to check the status of their flights before going to the airport.

Severe winter weather had resulted in 183 delayed flights as of 5 p.m. to and from Tampa. A total of about 20 arrivals and departures had been canceled in Tampa, said airport spokeswoman Christine Osborn. The numbers were only expected to get worse, Osborne said, as weather-related delays around the country continued to stack up.

Departures from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport were averaging 2 ½ hours as of Thursday morning. No flights were expected to leave Chicago until at least noon.

"The New York, Boston and Chicago airports are the greatest impact," Osborn said. "The combination of those hubs make it a nationwide problem."

The National Weather Service predicted a collection of storms would pummel the Northeast from the southern Appalachian Mountains into New England, with the heaviest snow predicted from central New York to the Massachusetts coast. Blizzard conditions were possible in coastal areas like Long Island, according to the service's web site.

And after the storm, biting cold and subzero temperatures were expected to move into the Midwest and East Coast over the weekend. Chicago's predicted low — and high — on Monday is a biting minus-3 degrees.

Cold is on the way for us, bitter cold for rest of nation 01/02/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 2, 2014 5:24pm]
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