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Tampa Bay's heat index hit 101 degrees. It could have been worse. No, really.

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The Tampa Bay area sweated through a brutal Wednesday as temperatures reached a high of 97 degrees at Tampa International Airport, just 1 degree shy of the record.

But it felt even worse thanks to the humidity. The heat index — the "feels like" temperature reached a high of 103 degrees at 11 a.m. at the airport. By 1 p.m. it was still 101 degrees.

In anticipation of those sweltering temperatures, the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory in effect from noon to 6 p.m., warning that the heat index could hover in the 108 to 110 degree range. The high temperatures increased the risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke for people outdoors, the Weather Service said. Portions of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties were included in the advisory.

But the bay area lucked out thanks to some dry air inland, which didn't keep temperatures low, but did keep them from reaching the high-end of the heat advisory range.

Thursday will see the usual June weather pattern return: It will be hot and wet. Expect it to be partly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms. It'll also still be hot, with temps in the mid 90s. That rain percentage will jump to 70 by Friday.

Tampa hit a high of 98 degrees Tuesday, tying a record for June 25 set in 1950. But temperatures should return to a more tolerable level by the end of the week, said meteorologist Stephen Shiveley.

"Today should be the last of the hottest days," Shiveley said, explaining that a lack of rain is partly to blame for the spike.

"We usually get stuff like this once or twice a summer."

A return to the typical summer sea breeze weather pattern is expected soon.

Contact Sam Ogozalek at sogozalek@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3430. Follow @SamOgozalek.

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