One cold front piling on top of another this week will bring some of the chilliest weather Tampa Bay has felt since mid-January.
A cold front that passed through Tampa Bay on Sunday dropped temperatures and brought cooling showers. A second cold front early this week will plunge overnight temperatures into the 40s across the Tampa Bay area and into the 30s along the Nature Coast.
On Monday, most areas of Tampa Bay struggled to climb out of the upper 60s, and nighttime temperatures hovered in the lower 50s. Another cold snap on Tuesday will keep Tampa Bay in the mid- to low 60s and bring those overnight lows down even further.
“That’s like below normal for a January day, never mind the end of November,” said Kyle Hanson, a meteorologist for Spectrum Bay News 9.
The frigid air will be some of the coldest the area has experienced in months, Hanson said. However, Hanson does not expect any freezes in the Tampa Bay area this week.
The National Weather Service anticipates Tampa will dip to the mid-40s Tuesday night. While March had a couple of cold days when lows dipped to 47 degrees, Tuesday is expected to be the chilliest since January, when the low was 40 degrees. On the other side of the bridge, St. Petersburg is also likely have its coldest temperatures — in the upper 40s — since the beginning of the year.
Hanson added the caveat that this past winter was warmer than usual for the area. The 2022-2023 winter was the ninth-warmest in Tampa’s recorded history. While December and January were near normal, February was especially warm and ran nearly 6 degrees above normal, according to weather data.
The National Weather Service’s Climate and Prediction Center said there is an equal chance of above, below or normal temperatures this winter in the South, including Florida.
This year, a strong El Niño is likely to last through the winter and into the spring. The weather service’s Tampa Bay office said that locally, a strong El Niño historically has meant December temperatures run near to above normal, while January and February’s tend to be below normal.
Increased cloud cover and rain tend to keep daytime temperatures cooler during El Niño winter months.
The Sunday cold front brought showers to the area, and even an inch of rain to Tampa, according to the National Weather Service. However, a weekly forecast from the weather service does not anticipate rain until Friday, when there is a low chance of showers in the afternoon.
Hanson said to expect some cloud cover for the next few days, though some sunshine could peak through.
The chilly weather will last through Wednesday, then temperatures creep back up on Thursday. By Friday, the high will be around 80 degrees and it will get more humid. The weekend is likely to remain hot, when forecasts show temperatures hovering in the low 80s during the day.
“So it’s kind of like, ‘OK, here’s a brief taste of winter,’” Hanson said, “‘and then we’ll go back to typical Florida weather.’”