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A nice weekend? // Believe it or not, that's the forecast

Sunny skies. Few clouds. The mercury hovering near 80. Could this be the weekend forecast?

Absolutely, forecasters say.

After suffering through the coldest winter in 13 years and a string of lousy weekends, Tampa Bay is finally going to catch a break.

"It's nice for a change," said Ron Morales of the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

Indeed. By forecasters' count, nine out of the past 13 weekends have been chilly, cloudy or rainy.

Unseasonably chilly weather swept through the area Thursday, bringing near-record lows around Tampa Bay.

In Tampa, the temperature at 6 a.m. Thursday was 47 degrees, 2 degrees warmer than the record of 45 set April, 11, 1966. In St. Petersburg, the mercury hit 54 degrees, too warm to break the record of 51 degrees set in 1960.

_ JALEH HAGIGH

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