A cold front that is plunging parts of the southeastern U.S. into a deep freeze is also sinking temperatures throughout the Tampa Bay area, with some spots expected to drop Wednesday into the upper 40s.
The front also brought scattered rain showers through parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties Thursday morning, as a line of storms went northeast toward Orlando.
The good news: The chilly and rainy week is expected to give way to a pleasant weekend, with clear skies and temperatures returning to the 70s by Friday.
"The temperatures in the bay area will be falling this morning and this afternoon," said Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez. "It also will be breezy with showers."
For now, bay area residents can expect lows in the 50s Wednesday. The coldest temperatures will be Thursday morning, Marquez said, with lows in the 40s near Tampa Bay and even into the 30s in the northern bay area counties. Despite the drop, temperatures were not expected to reach freezing.
Rains were expected to continue off and on through Thursday. Rain chances were holding steady at 60 percent.
"It is not going to rain all day long, but there will be periods of rain," Marquez said.
All of it will give way to a warming trend starting Friday, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 70s and 80s.
The winter weather was creating havoc across portions of the Southeast, with reports of snow and sleet as far south as Pensacola.
The weather had resulted in 32 canceled flights out of Tampa International Airport as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to airport officials. That included 17 departures and 15 arrivals, most of which were headed to and from Atlanta, a major air hub.
A total of 51 flights were delayed.