On each side of Tampa Bay, two major events will draw thousands of people outside this weekend.
In St. Petersburg, glossy race cars will zoom through the streets of downtown during the Firestone Grand Prix. In the more rural area of Plant City, people will stuff their faces with strawberries, strawberries and more strawberries at the Florida Strawberry Festival.
Each outdoor event will run through the entire weekend. So it raises the question, what will the weather be like?
Not too shabby — if you don’t mind a little rain and some heat.
The National Weather Service is calling for the highs this weekend to be in the low to mid-80s across Tampa Bay. In St. Petersburg, closer to the water, temperatures will max out in the low 80s. In land-locked Plant City, temperatures will hover in the mid-80s.
Across the area, forecasters are predicting a 20% chance of rain Saturday afternoon. The rain chances will stick around through Saturday night. And once again on Sunday, the afternoon will see similar rain chances — a 20% chance of rain in St. Petersburg and a 30% chance in Plant City.
“Not like a big chance of rain,” said Paul Close, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office. “It won’t be a washout, maybe a couple of showers go through.”
Close expects the weekend to be cloudy, giving some relief to those planning to be outside all day. However, Close also expects it will be muggy as a strong front moves across the southeast and dissipates near Tampa Bay.
Winds will mellow out this weekend from the stronger gusts on Friday, when wind speeds were reaching around 30 mph.
Next week, temperatures will remain well above normal in the mid to low 80s across the area. At this time of year, temperatures should be in the mid-70s for those near the coast, and for for those more inland, around the upper 70s, Close said.
A cool down may be on its way around mid-March, Close said, that could put us closer to more average temperatures.