A blast of cold and windy weather Friday briefly delayed flights at Tampa International Airport and spurred Pinellas County officials to open cold weather shelters there.
Normal airport operations resumed mid-morning Friday after high winds had caused flight delays for about an hour. Tampa International officials cautioned travelers to check their flight status before heading to the airport.
The airport first reported delays just before 8:45 a.m., and the flight tracker website Flight Aware posted that all inbound flights were being held at their point of origin. Operations returned to normal at about 9:35 a.m.
Authorities also monitored the Sunshine Skyway bridge, which must be closed if sustained winds reach 40 mph. However, it remained open Friday afternoon.
The high winds are being ushered in by a cold front that dropped temperatures Friday, with highs in the 60s across the Tampa Bay area, according to Bay News 9. Friday night’s lows will plunge into the upper 30s/low 40s, especially in Hernando and Citrus counties.
After a cool start, Saturday will start to warm up with highs in the low 70s. Overnight temperatures will be in the 50s. Then Sunday temperatures will reach the upper 70s. The winds are also expected to ease up.
Frigid conditions led the Homeless Leadership Board and United Methodist Cooperative Ministries/Suncoast, Inc. to open cold weather shelters in Pinellas County. The shelters will open between 6 and 6:30 p.m., except for Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church in downtown Clearwater, which opens at 5 p.m.
Families with children will be placed in family shelters. Families should call 2-1-1, Tampa Bay Cares, Inc., for information about those shelters.
Shelters will accept guests all night long and close about 6 a.m. Saturday. Shelter guests are provided a hot meal, a warm safe place to spend the night and breakfast in the morning. But they could remain open if needed this weekend.
The shelters for adult men and women are:
Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church
110 S. Ft. Harrison Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33756
Note: This shelter opens at 5 p.m.
Northwest Presbyterian Church
6330 54th Avenue N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33706
The Turning Point
1810 5th Avenue N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
1400 4th Street S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Trinity Lutheran Church
401 5th Street N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Boy and Girls Club of the Suncoast in Pinellas Park
7709 61st Street N.
Pinellas Park, FL 33781
Boys and Girls Club of Tarpon Springs
111 W. Lime Street
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689