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Tampa Bay basks in sun as rest of the nation shivers

A group of kite flyers met Sunday afternoon to enjoy the warm day, as well as an 8 mph northwest wind gently blowing through Treasure Island.

"You don't got to shovel sunshine," said Dennis Albasi of Seminole, who moved here from New York about eight years ago.

As much of the nation dug out from a blanket of snow, Sunday kicked off a week of expected above-average temperatures in the Tampa Bay area. Spring-like temps stood in contrast from the below-normal highs that have chilled much of the nation for the past week.

The coming week should bring temperatures reaching into the 80s across Tampa Bay. This afternoon will reach the mid-70s, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik.

Albasi and his wife, Judy, looped and glided their kites on what he calls the best strip of beach in Treasure Island, near the Thunderbird Beach Resort.

Albasi wore a black sweatshirt, despite the mid-60s high that day, in direct view of elderly sunbathers cooking to a ripe cherry red.

"You can tell who the locals are," Albasi said, pointing first at his group of friends dressed in sweatshirts, jackets and long pants, then motioning to those basking and barely clothed.

Jay Nunes, another kite flyer in his group, Kiting Tampa Bay, said his family just left for the airport. They'd come to Florida from Rhode Island to escape the cold, and although last week saw below-average temperatures, it was eons better than what waited for them at home.

When they step off the tarmac, Nunes said, it should be around 7 degrees.

"Forget that," Nunes said.

On the other side of Pinellas County, in Vinoy Park, it was warm enough to dump a cooler of yellow Gatorade over 8-year-old Jake Wright's head.

Sunday was his birthday, and he asked his father, Dave Wright, for a football-themed party.

They planned the party for Sunday in part because of the forecast for nice weather.

The dads ran about 20 kids through drills and divided them into four teams to reenact the NFL playoffs. In this match-up, however, the Seattle Seahawks battled the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Seahawks narrowly won 6 to 0.

Despite the birthday boy landing a right hook in another child's face, it wasn't a bad day, his father said.

But don't get too comfortable, Kacmarik from Bay News 9 warned of the serene temperatures, because Friday could bring rain.

A front slated to approach the area Friday is expected to stall out, but might still usher in a chance of rain throughout the weekend, she said.

With Friday out of mind, the dads packed up the footballs and jerseys. Tucked in their red athletic bag was a bottle of Seagram's Seven Crown, and they drank to such a splendid day.

Times staff writer Keyonna Summers contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay basks in sun as rest of the nation shivers 02/16/14 [Last modified: Sunday, February 16, 2014 10:25pm]
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