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New rules will greet a chilly invasion

The Gasparilla forecast calls for sunshine, but cool breezes. No rain will fall on this parade.

With this week's gloomy skies, those attending Saturday's Gasparilla invasion and parade may be wondering what the weather will be like. It is, after all, one of the few things about the annual event that changes every year.

Paul Dellegatto, WTVT-Ch. 13 meteorologist, has some good news and some bad news.

Generally, it's going to be sunnier than it has been the past couple of days, he said. A cold front is expected to go by sometime today, making Saturday bright and sunny.

"The only negative is that it is going to be cool," said Dellegatto.

High temperatures will be in the low to mid-60s, he said.

"As long as people are in the sun, it should be all right," he said.

It's also going to be breezy, said Dellegatto, with wind blowing from the north to northeast at about 10-15 mph. Boaters will have to deal with some choppy water around invasion time, scheduled for 1:15 p.m. The good news?

"It will not rain," said Dellegatto.

The city is changing traffic patterns and imposing no-parking zones over a larger area of Hyde Park for this year's parade, said Debbie Herrington, traffic engineering supervisor.

Three streets west of Rome Avenue near Bayshore Boulevard will restricted to one-way traffic.

Street parking will be prohibited or limited to one side to keep streets open for residents and emergency vehicles. Such restrictions have been imposed for nine years in Hyde Park east of Rome.

"When you had two-way traffic trying to get down narrow, 10-foot sections of street, you got gridlock," Herrington said. "Some people got struck, parked their car in the middle of the street and walked to the parade."

When street parking in each area of Hyde Park is full, police will close the neighborhoods and let in only residents with identification, she said.

The city is advising Hyde Park residents to make sure guests arrive early. Herrington couldn't say what time police will close the neighborhoods. But in previous years, it has been as early as 11 a.m. and as late as 1 p.m.

While Gasparilla has a no-holds-barred reputation, Tampa police say revelers must follow a few rules. They include:

+ Don't park in marked no-parking zones or block driveways. Illegally parked cars will be towed.

+ Don't throw anything. Police won't allow spectators throwing water balloons, silly string or any device that sprays water.

+ Stay behind the barricades.

+ Don't bring glass containers.

+ Don't overindulge in alcohol.