MANATEE -- The Sunshine Skyway Bridge was reopened after being closed earlier due to severe weather in Manatee County and the rest of the Tampa Bay area.
Most of the Eastern United States is being hit by Winter Storm Jonas, causing flight cancellations and delays locally.
Just before noon Friday, the Florida Highway Patrol announced it would be closing the Sunshine Skyway bridge due to high winds.
The last line of storms associated with the cold front was beginning to move through Manatee County prompting a severe thunderstorm watch to be issued until 5 p.m.
"It probably will be lifted earlier," said Bay News 9 meteorologist Mike Clay. "The line is moving through right now."
Going into Saturday, the front will bring high winds from the west and cooler temperatures. Lows are forecasted to be in the mid-40s.
A gale warning has been issued for Gulf of Mexico waters and a small craft advisory has been issued for Tampa Bay waters. Beach erosion will be possible as well.
At Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport the effects have been minimal as of late Friday morning.
"Right now we have had five flight cancellations," said Fredrick J. Piccolo, president SRQ airport.
As always Piccolo suggested people should check with their airlines.
There are no delays of any significance, he added. More flights could also be affected as the blizzard hits more cities to the north.
There are 52 flight cancellations and 34 delays as of late Friday morning in and out of Tampa International Airport.
The airlines have been proactive anticipating the arrival of the storms, so they can cancel the flights instead of causing delays, according to TPA spokesperson Christine Osborne.
States of emergency have already been declared in North Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. As Winter Storm Jonas continues to make its way north, more cancellations or delays are possible to and from local airports.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twittercnextxc val="1"/>