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Cool weather, chilly water expected for Tarpon Springs Epiphany celebration

Fog may envelop the Gulf community early in the day but should be gone in time for the famed plunge into Spring Bayou.
Young men who will be diving for the white cross in Spring Bayou on Thursday await a blessing Wednesday from Greek Orthodox Bishop Sevastianos of Zelon. The cross dive and the Blessing of the Fleet at the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks are features of the community's annual Epiphany celebration.
Young men who will be diving for the white cross in Spring Bayou on Thursday await a blessing Wednesday from Greek Orthodox Bishop Sevastianos of Zelon. The cross dive and the Blessing of the Fleet at the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks are features of the community's annual Epiphany celebration. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jan. 5

TARPON SPRINGS — When 68 teenage boys plunge into Spring Bayou around noon Thursday, they will be diving into water that could be as chilly as 69 degrees.

That’s according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Ross Giarratana, who says the water and outside temperature in Tarpon Springs should be about the same during St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral’s 116th annual Epiphany celebration.

By comparison, the average August water temperature at Clearwater Beach is between 85 and 88 degrees.

The festivities in Tarpon Springs will begin around 8 a.m. Thursday with slightly cooler temperatures, however, and a chance of fog.

Giarratana says it will be about 60 in Tarpon Springs around 8 a.m. and will slowly warm up to 70 degrees by 3 p.m., which is the hottest time of the day. No rain is expected for Tarpon Springs on Thursday.

The morning fog, if any, would be burned off well before noon, Giarratana said.

The weather in Tarpon Springs will be about the same as the rest of Tampa Bay, Giarratana said — pleasant, average January weather the rest of the work week.

This week’s cool weather will give way to warmer air this weekend, however. Giarratana says temperatures could reach the mid-80′s by then while we stay mostly dry.