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5 things to know about Tampa Bay weather this Christmas season

A cold front will make Christmas Day a chilly one. Here’s what’s in store for the next ten days.
Christmas colors illuminate the palm trees Saturday at Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park in Tampa. Cooler-than-normal temperatures are forecast for Tampa this Christmas.
Christmas colors illuminate the palm trees Saturday at Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park in Tampa. Cooler-than-normal temperatures are forecast for Tampa this Christmas. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Dec. 15, 2021|Updated Dec. 15, 2021

We all know Tampa Bay will likely never experience a white Christmas.

Instead, many of us root for a little chill in the air, anyway, during a season when families are taking off to spend time together.

With the big day less than 10 days out, the National Weather Service is issuing its extended forecast through Dec. 25. Here’s what’s in store.

It will be a cooler than usual Christmas

Christmas Day, a Saturday, will be a cool one by Tampa Bay standards.

Highs will be in the low-70s on Dec. 25 and could drop into the upper 50s for the northern parts of Tampa Bay, said meteorologist John McMichael of the National Weather Service’s Ruskin office. That’s a significant dip from the high of 83 expected for Tampa Bay on Thursday.

The drop in temperatures will come from a cold front expected to reach Tampa Bay on Christmas Eve, when temperatures are expected to be the same as Christmas Day.

Santa may have to dodge a few raindrops

The cold front coming to Tampa Bay on Christmas Eve will bring some showers along with it.

You don’t have to worry about your Christmas plans being spoiled, however, McMichael says. There will be no chance of rain Christmas Day or the rest of the weekend.

But Santa and his reindeer may need to pull on the slickers when they visit Tampa Bay. There’s a 20 to 30 percent chance of rain Dec. 24. The sun sets that day at 5:42 p.m.

Santa may find a few raindrops in Tampa Bay on Christmas Eve. Here, Santa, who sometimes goes by the name Bob Distelcamp, delights Harper Austin, 3, of Land O’ Lakes, at International Plaza.
Santa may find a few raindrops in Tampa Bay on Christmas Eve. Here, Santa, who sometimes goes by the name Bob Distelcamp, delights Harper Austin, 3, of Land O’ Lakes, at International Plaza. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Respite from a warmer-than-usual December

Tampa Bay’s Christmas cooldown will come at the perfect time for those who miss the cold.

The average temperature has been 72 so far this month, 5.9 degrees warmer than a typical December, McMichael said.

That’s hot for wintertime — even by Florida standards.

A cooler Christmas week likely won’t be enough to bring average monthly temperature back down to normal. We’re already destined to finish the month above-average, McMichael said.

A fog Scrooge would recognize is dissipating

One Christmas, fog and its phantoms terrified Ebenezer Scrooge, played in 2019 by David Mann of Freefall Theatre in St. Petersburg.
One Christmas, fog and its phantoms terrified Ebenezer Scrooge, played in 2019 by David Mann of Freefall Theatre in St. Petersburg.

Ebenezer Scrooge might have felt right at home in Tampa Bay during much of December. Just like the London of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol, “The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole.”

But as Christmas approaches, chances diminish for the blanketing mist from which Dickens’ Christmas phantoms emerged.

Credit dry air that the cold front will bring with it, McMichael said.

The highest chance of fog during Christmas week is on Christmas Eve before the cold front fully appears.

Dry weather for football and boat parades

Synonymous with the holiday season is football — whether you’re tossing the pigskin with friends, heading to Raymond James Stadium or watching any of the eight televised college bowl games Florida hosts.

Mother Nature is setting up Florida nicely for outdoor activities during the next ten days. The chance never exceeds 30 percent.

In their second meeting this season, Chris Godwin and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. A low temperature of 68 is forecast.
In their second meeting this season, Chris Godwin and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. A low temperature of 68 is forecast. [ BUTCH DILL | AP ]

The forecast for Tampa this Sunday, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints at 8 p.m., is for a low of 68 and a chance of rain less than 10 percent. It will be even cooler for the Gasparilla Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 23, between the University of Florida Gators and Knights of the University of Central Florida. A low of 60 is predicted with no chance of rain.

Pleasant weather is also forecast for the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade in downtown Tampa this Saturday. The parade begins 6 p.m. at the southern tip of Davis Islands at moves through the Convention Center basin into the Heights.

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