Cold air is comin’ to town.
Two of the world’s leading weather models are in agreement — Christmas in Tampa Bay is going to be chilly.
Like, the kind of chilly that means you won’t sweat just looking a hot chocolate. Or the kind of chilly that means the matching flannel pajamas your family forces you to wear for a Facebook photo may actually be cozy instead of clammy.
But, we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves. It’s going to be cold, but just how cold is still too far out for weather models to say with certainty, said Kyle Hanson, a meteorologist at Spectrum Bay News 9.
“Exactly how cold is hard to say,” Hanson said. “But right now, like a range that they (weather models) kind of both are suggesting — 30s for lows and 50s for highs at this point.”
The last time temperatures fell into the 30s during Christmas in Tampa Bay was in 1995, Hanson said. For some context, that’s only a year after Mariah Carey’s seminal release of “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
On Christmas 1995, the low was 33 degrees and the high was 56 degrees in Tampa. A Tampa Tribune article from the day paints a picture of farmers scrambling to save their crops and of those without a warm place to stay seeking shelter for the holiday.
Rodney Wynn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office, said the agency’s forecasts don’t go that far out. Temperatures more than a week out can fluctuate, Wynn said, so he couldn’t give any exact temperatures. Wynn did say, however, the temperatures would be below normal near Christmas.
“I can tell you … it’s going to actually feel like Christmas because it’s going to be on the cool side for Florida standards,” Wynn said.
For air that cold to reach Tampa Bay, a front has to not only make it to our area, but also have a blast of northern air behind it. How frigid it gets depends where the cold front originated. If it comes from Canada, temperatures are more likely to plunge significantly, he said.
“So that’s where things can change,” Wynn said. “I can look at the forecast models and tell that we’re going to be in a colder air mass because I see the high pressure coming down, but exactly how far those temperatures move down in Florida, it can fluctuate.”