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Temperatures climb to near-records on Christmas; heat continues into midweek

Frosty the snowman wouldn't stand a chance.

With highs soaring into near-record territory on Christmas day, forecasters said the Tampa Bay area should expect above-average temperatures during much of the coming week.

Tampa Bay set no temperature records Sunday, says the National Weather Service. Tampa's high temperature was 82 degrees, one degree short of the record set in 1984. St. Petersburg's high was 78 degrees, far short of the 1940 record high of 84 degrees.

The weather will remain unseasonably warm until about Wednesday, when cooler air will move in and bring temperatures back down into the 70s, said NWS forecaster Anthony Reynes. Until then, temperatures will hover in the high 70s to low 80s.

This week's warm spell was born of a combination of atmospheric conditions, meteorologists said.

La Niña, an oceanic-atmospheric phenomenon that causes temperatures in the eastern Pacific to cool, combined with sea-level pressure variations to the north to create conditions that effectively blocked cold air from rolling into the Tampa Bay area, Reynes said.

But that doesn't mean it won't get cold this winter.

"We're going to have cold days," Reynes said. "We always have cold days. But when the cold air gets blocked from reaching farther south, it happens less often."

Florida's Christmas day temperatures were the highest in the continental United States, with much of the country seeing temperatures in the 40s and 50s, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker.

Temperatures climb to near-records on Christmas; heat continues into midweek 12/25/11 [Last modified: Monday, December 26, 2011 8:39am]
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