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Finally, cooler weather on the way after third-hottest October start ever

The first half of October has been the third warmest on record for the Tampa Bay area.

Get ready for a big change.

Thursday and Friday will see temperatures in the mid 80s, but a cold front is expected to roll through Friday night.

The result: a 15-degree swing in temperatures.

The above normal temperatures the area has seen all month — making for the third warmest start to October ever, said Paul Close of the Natinoal Weather Service — will suddenly shift to below normal this weekend.

And some rain might even fall Thursday and Friday.

But the real weather story is temperatures: The National Weather Service forecasts temps in the upper 60s by Saturday morning. It has been so warm lately that records have been set, including Thursday in St. Petersburg. The morning low was 79 degrees at Albert Whitted Airport, breaking the old record of 77 degrees set in 1986.

Friday's cold front will make for a gorgeous weekend.

National Weather Service meteorologist John McMichael said Saturday and Sunday will be cool, breezy and full of sunshine. Temperatures Saturday are projected to be in the mid-70s, slightly below normal for this time of year.

The humidity will ease up, too, down to about 50 percent on Saturday. "People are definitely going to notice the change," McMichael said. Dew points lately have been at summertime levels — 70 or above.

Sunday and Monday will be about the same or even cooler, according to Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez. The bay area could even see temperatures dip into the 50s before it heats back up.

The front will also bring gusty winds, possibly around 10 to 20 mph, Marquez said.

After Monday, temperatures will rise slightly, but not to the record levels we've been griping about. Highs for next week will likely be in the 80s.

But before all that happens, get ready for rain.

The chance for thunderstorms today is about 40 to 50 percent, forecasters said. Friday, that chance jumps to 60 to 70 percent, with stronger likelihood of severe thunderstorms.

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Finally, cooler weather on the way after third-hottest October start ever 10/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 15, 2009 11:52am]
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