Our furry marmot friend from the north, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted six more weeks of winter on Thursday — right on time for a cooldown this weekend in Tampa Bay.
Phil, a prominent weather-forecasting groundhog, predicted a longer winter when he saw his shadow. While Tampa Bay’s definition of winter is far different from the North’s, a slight temperature drop will make its way to the area this weekend.
On Friday, a cold front will clash with our warmer-than-average temperatures, bringing some showers and scattered thunderstorms to the area. The showers will arrive around late morning and last into the afternoon, said Ross Giarratana, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office.
“I think it’s (the rain) going to be light, maybe moderate at most ... but this is really not looking like a lot of rainfall,” Giarratana said.
After the rain passes, temperatures will cool off to the mid-70s on Friday. Saturday’s high will be in the low 70s. By Sunday, temperatures will creep up to the high 70s, with a slight chance of rain.
By Tuesday, the daily high temperature will bounce back to around 80 degrees, according to the weather service.
“Above normal, once again,” Giarratana said.
The normal high for the area this time of year is in the low 70s. The normal low is around the mid-50s. Highs this week have been in the low 80s.
The Tampa Bay area has been plagued by a thick fog in the early hours this week that has reduced visibility and made morning commutes difficult. Giarratana said this time of year has all the ingredients for these foggy mornings when warmer, humid air hits the cooler waters along the Gulf of Mexico.
Wind speeds and other factors also play into the formation of fog, so it’s too early to say what next week will bring, Giarratana said.