MANATEE -- The sub-freezing blast of winter that hit most of the United States Thursday led to 183 departure and arrival delays and 23 flight cancellations at Tampa International Airport, along with five more cancellations at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
"It was a hectic day at the airport," said Emily Nipps, a Tampa International Airport spokeswoman. "We also had northern storms the day before Thanksgiving but it wasn't this bad. It was kind of everywhere. The worst area seemed to be Chicago, where there was a lot of ice and snow, and also New York. Any
one flying into JFK had a delay of five hours on Thursday."
At Sarasota-Bradenton International, one Thursday flight to Chicago and one to Boston were canceled due to snow in those Midwest and East Coast cities.
Five additional flights, to Boston and New York, scheduled to leave Friday from Sarasota, were still showing on time Thursday afternoon, but bear watching for changes due to snow at northern airports, said Neal Cancellieri, operations officer for Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
The cancellations illustrate how severe conditions are elsewhere, but they are not so bad in Manatee and Sarasota. The massive cold front will only drop the thermometer into the 40s and 50s in Manatee and Sarasota.
As Manatee residents and tourists wake Friday they will experience upper 40s temperatures and a brisk wind that will make it feel like upper 30s, said Mike Clay, a Bay News 9 meteorologist.
"Friday's highs will be in the upper 50s and it will stay there, but it will be dry," Clay added.
Saturday will feature a chilly morning in the mid-40s followed by a quick return of warmer air and a rise to the low 70s by the afternoon, Clay said.
"On Sunday we will have warmer air coming in, including some showers," Clay added. "But that warm turnaround will be very quick."
Sunday will have lows in the mid-50s to around 60 degrees and highs in the mid to upper 70s, said Nicole Carlisle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.
Computer models show a stronger cold front is expected to arrive Monday, Clay said.
"This cold front due to hit at the beginning of next week is coming right down from Siberia and the wind pattern is perfect for bringing the air down all the way," Clay said. "For instance, Birmingham, Ala., will experience 9-degree temperatures Tuesday. Right now, however, it looks like the Siberian front won't come clear down to Florida. But that could easily change. We have to watch early next week carefully."
Monday night temperatures are expected to bottom out in the upper 30s with Tuesday staying in the 50s all day, Clay said. Wednesday will warm up again, with temperatures in the upper 60s.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @RichardDymond.