At the same time, there were serious differences in temperatures: Zephyhrills was a chilly 28 and North Tampa was 32 at 5 a.m. while a thermometer at St. Petersburg’s Albert Whitted Airport read 50.
Still, it was the coldest day of the season for nearly every city, said Austen Flannery of the National Weather Service’s Ruskin office.
”Individual spots may not be the coldest of the season, but for a majority, it certainly was,” Flannery said.
That included Zephyrhills, which had the coldest temperature in the region at 27 overnight, as well as Tampa International with 30, Flannery said.
The cold is expected to last all week, but you may be able to put your plant-covering blankets away — at least until the weekend.
Low temperatures from Tuesday through Saturday are expected to stay in the 40s, with inland areas slightly colder than coastal areas, Flannery said. The warmer ocean water, which doesn’t cool as fast as the air does, regulates the temperature for areas closer to the coast.
People in Pasco, Hernando and inland Hillsborough may need to cover plants again this Sunday, however. Temperatures then will be similar to Monday morning, below-freezing as far south as Tampa.
Flannery said Monday morning’s temperatures may have been the coldest weather parts of Tampa Bay have experienced since early 2020.
La Niña is why temperatures have remained above freezing the last two years, Flannery said.
The phenomenon, which occurs in the Pacific Ocean and affects the climate across the globe, often means a more active hurricane season in the summer. During Florida winters, its presence typically means mostly mild temperatures., This week is a rare exception.
”It’s really been a while since we’ve been this cold,” Flannery said.