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Cold front could bring strong storms to Tampa Bay on Thursday night

Strong winds and storms could interrupt a good night’s sleep, and there’s even a chance of a tornado developing. Once the fury dies down, expect cool temperatures this weekend.
A cold front approaching the Florida peninsula could bring strong storms to the Tampa Bay area on Thursday night. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times (2014)]
A cold front approaching the Florida peninsula could bring strong storms to the Tampa Bay area on Thursday night. [CHRIS URSO | Times (2014)]
Published Feb. 4
Updated Feb. 4

A cold front approaching the Florida peninsula could bring strong storms to the Tampa Bay area by Thursday night.

The most likely threat to the bay area will come in the form of strong wind gusts, said Spectrum Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker. But there’s also a chance that a tornado could develop.

The most severe weather will likely be felt further north, all the way up to the Panhandle. But Tampa Bay residents will certainly notice the change in weather come Thursday, Linker said.

“On the level of monumental-ness, (the system) shouldn’t really get to be that big of a deal,” he said. “Certainly, 'attention-getting’ would be a good way to describe it.”

The worst of the storm’s effects shouldn’t last more than an hour in any given area as Thursday turns into Friday, the meteorologist said. But that could be enough to wake up folks overnight.

The system is projected to bring in a lot of wind energy, so the region could experience winds approaching 40 miles per hour during the day on Thursday. Winds will come up from the south that day then shift from from the north on Friday.

Sea fog also is a possibility Thursday afternoon, so the reduced visibility won’t be ideal for boating. Less of a concern, Linker said, is coastal flooding.

Inland temperatures could reach the mid-80s on Thursday. It will be colder behind the front, but not anything that the bay area hasn’t already experienced. Expect highs in the 60s on Friday, with temperatures dipping down into the 40s Saturday morning and warming up to the 70s.

“It will be a short-lived little cool down,” Linker said. “Like a day.”


  1. Kite boarders take advantage of windy conditions on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 in St. Petersburg. Windy weather caused some delays at Tampa International Airport. The expected cold also prompted Pinellas officials to open cold weather shelters Friday.
  2. We’ll wake to temperatures in the 50s Friday morning, with cloudy conditions expected to linger throughout the day.
  3. Justin Callahan, 34, from St. Pete, looks out to the water as the sunrises on a crips morning at North Shore Park on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
  4. David Smith, a resident of the Palm Grove Village Mobile Home Park, Pinellas Park, shows the damage to his home, Friday, February 7, 2020, after high winds, Thursday night, toppled an Australian Pine tree onto the structure.  "I was in the bathroom when it hit," said Smith.
  5. Photos from Bay News 9 of storm damage in central Pinellas County caused by strong storms that moved through late Thursday night.
  6. Clouds build in downtown St. Petersburg in this file photo from August 2019. A system moving across the Gulf of Mexico is expected to bring strong storms to our area tonight, said meteorologist Juli Marquez of Spectrum Bay News 9.
  7. A cold front approaching the Florida peninsula could bring strong storms to the Tampa Bay area on Thursday night.
  8. Shelley Morgan, of Clearwater, keeps herself warm with a jacket and towel while searching for druzy, deposits of fine crystals Morgan says are found in voids on chert, a hard, fine-grained sedimentary rock composed of crystals of quartz, which lay exposed during low tide on Thursday, January 30, 2020, on the Dunedin Causeway.
  9. Twitter user Mark Kelly (@MarkKellyWPBF) posted a video of what looked like snow flurries in South Florida.
  10. Michael Stevens, 28, left, works to stay warm with friend Cash Holland, 21, right, outside the Boys and Girls Club of Tarpon Springs' cold night shelter on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, where the homeless men were among 28 people who took refuge from cooler weather which dipped to 36 degrees in north Pinellas County overnight. The shelter is funded through Pinellas County's Health and Human Services department and provided shelter and a hot breakfast for those who came.
  11. An iguana lies draped on a tree limb as it waits for the sunrise, Wednesday, in Surfside, Fla. The National Weather Service Miami posted Tuesday on its official Twitter that residents shouldn't be surprised if they see iguanas falling from trees as lows drop into the 30s and 40s. The low temperatures stun the invasive reptiles, but the iguanas won't necessarily die. That means many will wake up as temperatures rise Wednesday. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
  12. Jaclyn Campbell, 23, left, braves the cold temperatures while walking with her colleague Tysjah Pitchford during their lunch break in downtown Tampa in December.