It is a cold, windy start to the new year with the first week of 2018 bringing temperatures about 20 degrees lower than the average for the Tampa Bay area.
The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory Monday night until 10 a.m. Tuesday, citing "unseasonably cold air and gusty north winds" that could drop wind chills below 35 degrees over much of the Tampa Bay area.
That cold weather isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, either.
"It’s going to be colder as the week goes on," said Tampa National Weather Service meteorologist John McMichael.
The coldest temperatures will move in Wednesday night and linger in the region through the weekend, McMichael said. Tampa Bay can also expect to see lots of clouds with a chance of showers, making it a dark and dreary week for many who are used to sunny and 70 degrees this time of year.
Instead, the bay area will see three nights of freezing temperatures, especially in the interior, from Wednesday through Friday, McMichael said.
The week of frigid temperatures overlaps with winter breaks for students in kindergarten through 12th grade across the bay area. Instead of beach hangs and fun outdoors, kids may find themselves hoping for snow — yes, snow — somewhere in the area.
The hopes are fed by a host of maps and other posts shared on social media feeds, but 10Weather WTSP meteorologist Bobby Deskins warned against raising expectations.
While northern Florida might get a light dusting, the necessary elements aren’t combining in the right way for the bay area.
Yes, there will be rain and precipitation Tuesday and early Wednesday. But by the time the temperatures really drop later that night, the moisture will be gone. Snow needs both the cold and the wet to generate, and that’s a combination that’s just not in the cards this week, Deskins said.
"That’s always the crux," he said. "We don’t have the moisture coming in at the right time."
Deskins did say there is a small, tiny, itsy-bitsy chance Citrus County could see a wet snowflake or two overnight Monday, but any moisture would warm before reaching the other counties.
While the week won’t be as wet after Wednesday, it definitely will be cold, Deskins said. The cold front came in suddenly, with the temperature dropping 22 degrees between Sunday and Monday evenings.
The added winds, ranging from 10 to 20 mph, means warm layers are a must, McMichael said, along with limiting time outdoors.
Those whose houses have outdoor pipes were encouraged to cover them and open up valves to allow for a slow drip to help prevent any bursting.
Even during the day, temperatures are likely to top out around the mid 50s for much of the week before Sunday finally brings a bit of a respite as temps climb back up to the high 60s, McMichael said.
Contact Caitlin Johnston at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779. Follow @cljohnst.