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Tampa Bay’s chilly weather will give way to warmer weekend. Then more cold.

Meteorologists say these abrupt swings between cooler and warmer weather are a staple of strong El Niño winters.
 
Ame Emery of Tampa and Andrew Kirn of Dunedin walk their dog, Austin, while enjoying hot cocoas on Clearwater Beach on Monday afternoon as cold air sank into the Tampa Bay area.
Ame Emery of Tampa and Andrew Kirn of Dunedin walk their dog, Austin, while enjoying hot cocoas on Clearwater Beach on Monday afternoon as cold air sank into the Tampa Bay area. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jan. 30|Updated Jan. 30

Tampa Bay residents should keep their sweaters on hand for a while longer.

A series of cold mornings this week will give way to a nice warmup this weekend. But another cold front after that is already in sight, forecasters say.

Rick Davis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office, said current conditions are cooler than usual. Luckily, a “dead calm wind” is keeping wind chill temperatures close to the actual temperatures, he said.

“We’re not going to set any records and we’re not expecting any freezes,” Davis said.

Low temperatures were in the upper 30s and 40s Tuesday morning. Temperatures will rise by about 10 degrees Wednesday before they dip again on Thursday.

The weather should warm back up on Friday and highs will make it into the low 70s once the weekend is in full swing.

But meteorologists say not to get too comfortable. Another cool air mass will follow right behind the weekend’s warmer one and is expected to usher in another round of cold temperatures at the start of next week.

This pattern is typical of Florida winters, though the wild temperature swings are likely influenced by a strong El Niño this year, Davis said. A strong El Niño typically means fewer hurricanes in the summer and more severe weather and cold in the winter.

Gasparilla paradegoers will remember a warm and humid day on Bayshore Boulevard on Saturday. Davis said swampy weather like that typically indicates a cold front is on its way.

“We are expecting cold fronts like we’ve seen pretty much all winter,” he said.

In a social media post on Monday, the weather service office noted that Tampa’s high temperature of 58 was cooler than a 60-degree high in Billings, Montana.

“We occasionally get these days where some areas to the north of us are warmer than us,” Davis said. “But they are occurring for completely different reasons.”

This cooler weather is being brought by a dry, cool air mass passing over the Tampa Bay area. Davis said more pockets of dry air crashing into the front are responsible for the cold temperatures later in the week.