Winter gets off to warm start in Manatee

MANATEE -- Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature about the start of winter.

At least here in Florida.

After a chilly dip down to 58 degrees in the early morning hours, the mercury soared to 81 degrees around midday Thursday at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, according to the National Weather Service.

That might not seem too out-of-the-ordinary for the Sunshine State, but it was 8 degrees above the airport’s average high for Dec. 22.

The airport’s record high for the day: 86 degrees, back in 1948.

Temperatures are expected to get back to normal for the holiday weekend.

Today: Expect a high temperature near 74 degrees with partly sunny skies.

Saturday: More partly sunny skies and a high near 77.

Christmas Day: A high near 74 degrees is expected with mostly cloudy conditions and a 20 percent chance of showers.

Cooler temperatures are expected midweek, with high temperatures struggling to reach 70 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Brent Conklin, Night Metro Editor, can be reached at 941-745-7011.