Tampa Bay has been sweltering this week, with heat indexes regularly reaching 110 degrees and offering little cloud cover.
That heat will continue today.
Spectrum Bay News 9 Meteorologist Nick Merianos says the region will have feels-like temperatures well above 100 today while actual temperatures continue to reach the upper 90s. The National Weather Service said Thursday that another heat advisory will likely be issued Friday morning.
Bay News 9 predicts Friday will reach a high of 97 in Tampa, which is close to breaking the local record for hottest temperature ever recorded.
While heat indexes are regularly well over 100 in June, the actual temperature rarely gets that high. The closest Tampa has been to breaking 100 degrees was on June 5, 1985, when the temperature reached 99. St. Petersburg, meanwhile, has eclipsed 100 degrees just three times: in 1985, 1995 and 2011.
The humidity and the sea breeze off the Gulf of Mexico help keep the feels-like temperature down in Tampa Bay, Merianos said.
“Just about every afternoon, a sea breeze develops off the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay and it moves inland,” he said. “This is a cooler air mass that moves in and cools our area down each afternoon.”
Merianos added: “Another major contributor to the lack of a 100-degree temperature is the humidity. It takes a lot of energy to warm and cool a humid air mass versus a dry air mass. That’s why our temperatures don’t fall quickly overnight like areas in the desert.”
There’s been less humidity this week because of a plume of dust from the Sahara Desert that has moved over the region. The dust has added to the heat and hazy skies, according to Spectrum Bay News 9 Meteorologist Mike Clay.
“Not the kind of weather you really want to spend a lot of time outdoors in — if any,” Clay said. “It will feel like 91 by 9 a.m. and like 103 by the afternoon.”
There is a small chance for rain on Friday, which could bring some short relief from the heat.
Spectrum’s seven-day forecast says that Tampa Bay will continue to have highs above 90 each day until next Thursday, with rain chances remaining below 50 percent each day.