Tampa Bay cloud cover prevents freezing weather

Thanks to a blanket of high clouds, the Tampa Bay area was spared from freezing weather early Monday.

In Citrus and Hernando counties, it got close, with lows hitting between 33 and 35 degrees. According to the National Weather Service, Tuesday morning could feel similar and a freeze watch could be in effect for those areas again, depending on whether skies clear.

"That's one of the things we're keeping an eye on, is that expansive area of high clouds," said meteorologist Logan Johnson. If the skies clear, he explained, it allows heat to radiate back into space. When it's cloudy, heat gets trapped, keeping the area a little warmer.

Monday's highs aren't expected to climb past 60 in the warmest parts of the Tampa Bay area, with Hernando, Citrus, and inland Hillsborough and Pasco staying in the mid 50s.

Tuesday morning will feel much like Monday morning, Johnson said, but by Tuesday afternoon, it will start to warm back up to the 70s. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day should be in the low to mid 70s.

It's too early to say, Johnson said, but it appears that a strong area of low pressure across the southern plains could move into Florida by Thursday, bringing the possibility of showers and thunderstorms over the holiday.

Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8452.

Tampa Bay cloud cover prevents freezing weather 12/21/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:56pm]

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