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  1. Local Weather

Pinellas opens cold weather shelters amid frigid temperatures, strong winds

Wind gusts briefly delayed flights at Tampa International Airport. Authorities are also monitoring the Sunshine Skyway bridge, though it remained open as Friday morning.
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. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times]

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:

Clearwater

Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church

110 S. Ft. Harrison Avenue

Clearwater, FL 33756

(727) 446-3001

Capacity: 90

Note: This shelter opens at 5 p.m.

St. Petersburg

Northwest Presbyterian Church

6330 54th Avenue N.

St. Petersburg, FL 33706

(727) 544-4551

Capacity: 75

The Turning Point

1810 5th Avenue N.

St. Petersburg, FL 33713

(727) 823-7811

Capacity: 25

Salvation Army

1400 4th Street S.

St. Petersburg, FL 33705

(727) 822-4954

Capacity: 50

Trinity Lutheran Church

401 5th Street N.

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

(727) 822-3307

Capacity: 30

Pinellas Park

Boy and Girls Club of the Suncoast in Pinellas Park

7709 61st Street N.

Pinellas Park, FL 33781

(727) 547-5437

Capacity: 150

Tarpon Springs

Boys and Girls Club of Tarpon Springs

111 W. Lime Street

Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

(727) 937-6837

Capacity: 40-50

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