Keep the umbrella handy as we are likely in for another rainy day, or at least scattered thunderstorms, according to 10 Weather WTSP. Highs near 70 with lows dipping to near 50. But it's looking decent for Gasparilla.
• A 16 year old girl was accidentally shot early Thursday morning during a home invasion in the 3300 block of Garfield Drive, said the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Officials said they received a call at about 1:10 a.m. that three men had entered the home. The girl was accidentally shot by another resident during the incident. Officials did not immediately identify the residents.
• Three more members of an armed group occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge surrendered to authorities, officials said, hours after their jailed leader urged remaining militants to abandon the site and "go home." The men were described as being in contact with the FBI and officials said the men surrendered to agents on a road near the refuge. It was unclear whether the rest of Bundy's followers still holed up at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns were ready to heed his advice. It was believed perhaps a half-dozen remained late Wednesday, apparently sitting around a campfire.
• Lightning beat writer Joe Smith talks to goalie Ben Bishop about his first NHL All-Star Game on our latest Lightning Strikes podcast. Smith also discusses the latest developments in the Stamkos contract saga, including the reported eight-year, $68 million offer by the Bolts, and breaks down the potential of a Jonathan Drouin trade.
• Thirty years ago today, 72 seconds after the 11:38 a.m. launch, the space shuttle Challenger exploded over the east coast of Florida. Our All Eyes photo gallery looks back at the shuttle disaster and other events from 1986.
• A U.S. health official says he doubts the United States is vulnerable to a widespread outbreak of Zika virus, linked to a wave of birth defects in Brazil. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said he thinks the virus — suspected of being connected to microcephaly — can be kept at bay in the U.S. with mosquito control. Local outbreaks still seem possible in Texas and Florida, however.
Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, appeared on CBS This Morning. He said administration officials do not believe there are major ways of spreading the virus "other than by mosquito bites."
• France welcomed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani today with a long-term car-making agreement and pledges to boost trade now that a diplomatic deal is easing nuclear tensions. Yet clouds hung over the historic outreach trip. France has asked its European Union partners to consider new sanctions on Iran for its recent ballistic missile tests. That highlights continued suspicions between Iran and the West despite the recent agreement curbing Iran's nuclear program that prompted the lifting of earlier sanctions.
• The final debate ahead of next week's Iowa caucuses is tonight on Fox News with the Republican candidates for president. PolitiFact will be live fact-checking the debate. Follow @PolitiFact on Twitter.
• The Florida Legislature wraps up its work week today with everything from guns to rape kits to budget balancing on the agenda. A sampling: The Senate will take final votes on changes to Florida's Stand Your Ground law; House and Senate subcommittees plan to unveil their proposals for next year's state budget; a House panel will consider a plan to let people carry guns openly and another to shield pastors and churches from lawsuits if they refuse to wed same-sex couples; and another House subcommittee will consider legislation to speed up the testing of rape kits. Look for updates on that and more at tampabay.com/politics.
• The University of South Florida St. Petersburg plans a big announcement today regarding a new donor for its Kate Tiedemann College of Business, which is being constructed between Third and Fourth streets. The college's namesake donated $10 million in 2014. The announcement will come during an 11 a.m. "topping out" ceremony to mark the installation of the highest beam on the new building. Because of expected bad weather, officials plan to bring the beam inside the student center ballroom, where people will sign it. Stay with tampabay.com for news on the new donor.
• Attorneys for Angel Luis Perez Jr., accused of killing three people over a custody dispute in 2014 in Tampa, have scheduled a court hearing this morning to argue that the state should be barred from seeking the death penalty, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating Florida's capital punishment system. Follow reporter Tony Marrero on Twitter (@TMarreroTimes) for developments — and look for a story later on tampabay.com.
• Are you planning on joining the Gasparilla party on Saturday or you more like, "Arrgggh you serious?" We have tips for you carousers who are all in for the Gasparilla madness, with tips and bead-getting strategies. At the same time we throw a life saver to anyone hoping to escape the madness with some alternative events going on that day that don't involve swigging rum on the street. Hello, Kumquat Festival and the Dalí Museum.
• Here are top things to do around Tampa Bay today, including some classic plays, a Def Comedy Jam star and a Franklin Street block party.
• Times movie critic Steve Persall reviews The Finest Hours, "a story of real-life Coast Guard heroism coasting on patriotic good will." Sometimes, he says, "truth is duller than fiction."