TAMPA — Don’t rule out the possibility of a soggy Super Bowl Sunday just yet, but the latest forecasts from the National Weather Service in Ruskin are starting to show much sunnier prospects for Tampa’s turn hosting the big game Feb. 7.
By late last week, early forecasts for Super Bowl 55 called for a 40 percent chance of rain when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Kansas City Chiefs in Raymond James Stadium. But by 5 p.m. Sunday, the seven-day forecast showed only a 30 percent chance of showers with a high near 77 degrees.
Early data from the Weather Service suggests that Florida is in for a much milder February than seen in recent years, and while the Tampa Bay region is likely to see a brief cold front this week, things should warm back up well before kickoff.
Temperatures throughout Tampa Bay should stay breezy and pleasant today, topping out at about 75 degrees this afternoon. And despite heavy cloud cover and increased humidity today, the Weather Service is calling for only a 10 percent chance of rain today, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
By this evening, though, the light afternoon breeze will start to pick up. Forecasters predict a strong south to southwest wind 10 to 22 mph, with a possibility of stronger gusts. After sunset, rain chances will go up quickly across central Florida. Northern counties should expect to see the scattered showers and thunderstorms first as an approaching cold front creeps in from the northwest and moves south across the state.
High pressure moving east into the Atlantic combined with an approaching cold front will cause those winds to build over the Gulf of Mexico for much of the day Sunday, said John McMichael, a senior meteorologist in the Ruskin office. Boaters in the central and northern Gulf waters should exercise caution, he said.
By Monday morning, the warm breezes we’ve felt this weekend will be gusty winds blowing from the west-northwest. The temperature will likely be around 60 degrees early Monday, forecasters said, then continue to fall across the Tampa Bay region until reaching the mid-50s.
Choppy, elevated seas are expected throughout Tuesday, making for hazardous marine and beach conditions, McMichael said.
We’ll continue to see cooler weather until at least Thursday, with morning temperatures in the low 40s and highs in the mid to low 60s. But by Friday, as game day preparations kick into high gear, Tampa will once again start heating up.
Tampa Bay Times reporter Romy Ellenbogen contributed to this report.
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