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Tampa Bay's wild weather is calming down

It's not your imagination. This year has been a doozy weatherwise. In the past six months, the Tampa Bay area has gone from one extreme to the other. The frigid temperatures in January, February and March solidified that winter 2010 was one of the coldest starts to a year ever recorded. Only a few months later, the area saw record warm temperatures in May and June.

"I've been here 12 years, and I haven't seen a flip-flop like this where it went from so cold to so warm," said meteorologist Paul Close, who works at the National Weather Service in Ruskin. "Too bad it couldn't happen the other way around."

So what gives?

The short answer, Close and other meteorologists say, is luck.

"There's really nothing you can point out and say, 'This is why it happened,' " Close said. "It's just the way the weather patterns worked out."

In the winter, the area was affected by an arctic cold spell. Once the area did start to warm up, an area of high pressure hovered above, keeping things warmer than usual.

But drawing a correlation between those two things is harder.

"Basically, it's like a pendulum," said Bay News 9's Mike Clay. "Mother Nature wants it to be in the middle. … Usually when you start getting extremes one way, it's going to want to go back the other way."

Rain — or the lack of it — also was an ingredient of the hot start to summer. After a soggy March and April, rainfall totals were below normal in May and June. With fewer cool, rainy days and more hot and dry afternoons, high temperatures spiked.

The good news, weather officials say, is that things should be back to normal for the rest of the summer. The National Weather Service' climate prediction center is projecting average temperatures and precipitation for the next few months.

It will be hot and wet, but it won't be unusual.

Tampa Bay's wild weather is calming down 07/18/10 [Last modified: Sunday, July 18, 2010 7:01pm]
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