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Gasparilla weather: A look at Tampa’s forecast during the parade

More than 300,000 people will attend Tampa’s annual parade. Just what will the forecast entail?
 
The Jose Gasparilla pirate ship sails while the Children's Gasparilla parade takes place along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa on Saturday.
The Jose Gasparilla pirate ship sails while the Children's Gasparilla parade takes place along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa on Saturday. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Jan. 25|Updated Jan. 25

Revelers attending the annual Gasparilla Parade in Tampa on Saturday can leave behind their pirate frocks this year — the weather is expected to be warm and mostly sunny.

More than 300,000 people are anticipated to attend this year’s Gasparilla Parade. The parade, which runs along Bayshore Boulevard, will include 120 parade floats, bands and more than 50 krewes tossing beads to paradegoers. And this year, the annual parade will likely go off with little disruption from the weather.

“Should be a nice day,” said Paul Close, a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office. “A little warm and kind of muggy.”

Related: Tampa mayor didn’t give up key, Gasparilla pirates will invade Saturday

For those planning to get to the parade route early, Close said temperatures will start out in the mid-60s.

The festivities kick off at 11:30 a.m., when the pirate ship Jose Gasparilla will arrive at the south end of Hillsborough Bay. By that time, the day will already be warming up.

After the ship docks and once those aboard get the key to the city of Tampa, the parade will commence at 2 p.m. At the warmest part of the day, temperatures will likely be in the lower 80s in Tampa. However, Close said areas near the water could be in the mid-70s.

Related: Meet the Tampa family that makes Gasparilla floats for the original krewe

Some patchy fog could be possible during the parade day, Close said.

“So that’s the only thing we’re watching for,” Close said. “Warm, moist air over this cooler water, we’re expecting to see sea fog develop over the next day or two, and that could be lingering into Saturday.”

A high-pressure system in the Atlantic Ocean has been carrying warmer, more humid air to the area this week, leading to above-average temperatures. The warmer air settling in this week pushed out some of the coldest temperatures of the season.

During the Children’s Gasparilla parade on Saturday (the family-friendly version of the event), kids sported jackets over their pirate costumes. However, the coldest weather came the following morning, when temperatures plummeted to near-freezing across Tampa Bay.

Times Staffer Sharon Kennedy Wynne contributed to this report.