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Days-long stretch of chilly weather begins for Tampa Bay area

Following the early morning rains Monday, Tampa Bay area residents will feel a very noticeable drop in temperatures by Monday evening as drier air moves in.

The chill will last for days and could get as low as the 20s in some northern and inland areas of Citrus and Hernando counties overnight Tuesday and early Wednesday.

"It is a stretch of a few days," Bay News 9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik said. "It all depends on wind directions, which could keep the cold here for longer or shorter periods of time."

Monday is not expected to climb above 66 degrees for any parts of the area, and windy conditions will make it feel even cooler.

Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco county officials announced they would be opening cold weather shelters Monday and Tuesday nights.

The area's average temperature for this time of year is 70 degrees, Kacmarik said, so this is unusually cold. Still, it could signal the start of the chilly season, and citrus and berry farmers may use Monday night as a preview to start preparing for precautionary measures to protect their crops.

Milder, warmer weather in the low to mid 70s is expected by the end of the week.

Days-long stretch of chilly weather begins for Tampa Bay area 01/02/12 [Last modified: Monday, January 2, 2012 3:23pm]

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