Manatee braces for a cold weekend

rdymond@bradenton.comMarch 2, 2013 

MANATEE -- Meteorologists say a cold front roaring through Manatee County will produce lots of chill and wind with the chance of showers today and Sunday and downright cold, clear weather Monday.

This front, which began rolling in early Friday afternoon, will bring mercury readings in the uppers 40s on the coast and lower 40s inland early today, said Robert Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

The sudden dip in temperature didn't keep about 50 fans of jazz away from the Bradenton Riverwalk's Mosaic Amphitheater in downtown Bradenton on Friday evening for the season's first Music in the Park concert featuring the Marc Mannino Jazz Quartet.

"We love jazz and the cold wasn't going to stop us from being here," chattered jazz fan Thana Leonard of Bradenton who huddled next to Frank Ramirez.

Also among those bundled up were Johnette Isham of Realize Bradenton, hosts for the event, and Maribeth Phillips of Renaissance on 9th, which supplied food and beverages.

"It may be cold in Bradenton tonight but we're hot with jazz," the indefatigable Isham said.

The high temperatures Saturday will reach the mid-60s

at best, Garcia said.

"It will actually feel colder because of the wind," said Mike Clay, a meteorologist with Bay News 9.

Some lingering showers that are produced when a cold front meets warmer Gulf of Mexico air will continue into Sunday morning.

"On Sunday we are looking at low temperatures in the upper 40s on the coast and upper 30s inland," Garcia said. "We are looking for upper-60s for the high. It will definitely be chilly. But by the afternoon, we should be done with the showers."

Monday morning is expected to drag the thermometer down to the upper 30s, Clay said.

"Monday will be the coldest day when all of the cloud are getting out of the way allowing the cold to filtrate in," Garcia said. "Our note to moms and dads is to send the kids off to school with jackets on Monday."

Tuesday begins the rebound with temperatures in the mid-60s in the morning and mid-70s by the afternoon, Clay said.

"We can look out 10 to 15 days starting Tuesday and we see no signs of anything like this," said Mike Clay, a meteorologist with Bay News 9. "Then, the days will begin to get longer and we start to transition."

The coldest official day of the winter for Manatee and Sarasota residents so far was Feb. 18 when the mercury dipped to 35 degrees at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, Garcia said.

There was also a reading of 37 degrees at the airport Dec. 23, he added.

Richard Dymond, Herald writer, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 6686 or on twitter.com @RichardDymond.

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