UPDATE, 9 a.m. Saturday
Is that snow?
The National Weather Service says weather spotters indicate that some light sleet and snow is mixing with the rain at times across the area generally north of a line from St. Petersburg to Frostproof. We'll believe it when we see the pictures, right?
The latest forecast from Bay News 9 provides no relief: high temperatures in the 40s — or about 30 degrees below the norm — and freeze warnings all over Tampa Bay.
Forecasters in Central Florida, especially near Orlando, are expecting this weekend's rain to be mixed with snow. The white stuff's ugly cousin, sleet, is possible near dawn today in Pasco County. Lows in the upper 20s are expected on Sunday and Monday.
And the highs? Well, as Bay News 9 chief meteorologist Mike Clay put it, the high temperature today will be below the normal low temperature. "It's going to be a cloudy, cold windy day," Clay said. "And it's going to be a struggle to get warm next week."
About our heating bills
"In this cold weather, customers could run their heat for one week and end up with their bill being more than it is during the hottest month in summer," TECO project manager Kenneth Hernandez said Friday. With temps in the 30s, it costs about 200 percent more than we'd normally be paying this time of year to keep thermostats set at 70.
About the animals
A manatee trying to keep warm was rescued from a St. Petersburg drainage canal while iguanas are dropping out of trees and hundreds of sea turtles were found along Florida's east coast, stunned stiff by the cold.