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Heat wave hampers ice-making for hockey; no relief in sight

It's still hot. Not exactly record-shattering hot. But annoying hot. Too hot for October, considering you've been warm since April and pretty hot since June. Sure, this is Florida, but come on.

Did we mention it's hot?

And it's going to stay hot for awhile.

Historically speaking, just one local record has been reset this week, a record high low temperature of 78 degrees recorded by the National Weather Service at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday. The previous record of 77 degrees was set in 2007.

More records were teetering through Thursday afternoon, though, with a high of 93 forecast for Tampa and 92 for St. Petersburg. The record for this date for both cities is 92 degrees. The St. Petersburg mark was set in 1973; Tampa's in 1990.

Temperatures throughout Tampa Bay are averaging about five degrees hotter than normal at this stage of October, according to the National Weather Service. The heat index could reach 105 on Friday.

It's affecting more than your disposition and personal sense of freshness.

Creating an ice sheet that NHL players can actually skate on has been "more challenging than normal," according to St. Pete Times Forum spokesman Bill Wickett, with the Lightning's first three home games of the season set for Thursday, Saturday and Monday.

And with lows forecast to drop only to 76 degrees and humidity still feeling high on Friday, all those hot lights and 70,000 festive bodies inside Raymond James Stadium should make for a sweltering U2 concert.

Per-sp-i-i-i-i-ey-re.

Not to worry, said Tampa Sports Authority spokeswoman Barbara Casey. "It'll be hot, but we play football in the heat under the sun," she said. "We're Floridians. I hope we'll be okay."

Weather service meteorologist Logan Johnson said the unseasonable trend will continue into next week because a stubborn ridge of high pressure has squatted on the region, generating summer-like heat and humidity but squashing coinciding storm activity.

"As you get higher up in the atmosphere, it is very warm," Johnson said. "Thunderstorms like it to be cold up high."

The weather service forecasts temperatures in the low- to mid-90s through the weekend.

Another front might arrive by next week, Johnson said, but the difference in temperatures will not be striking. High temperatures could fall into the high- to mid-80s by Tuesday, he said.

"When you get a ridge of high pressure this strong, it gets very difficult to break," he said. "We may get the front, but not much change."

Heat wave hampers ice-making for hockey; no relief in sight 10/08/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 8, 2009 3:53pm]
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