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    Forecast calls for mid 80s Easter Sunday

    By Times staff writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published March 28, 2002

    Expect clear skies and highs in the mid 80s for Easter egg hunts around Tampa Bay this weekend, continuing the higher-than-normal temperatures of the past few weeks.

    "It looks to be a real nice weekend," said meteorologist Rick Davis of the National Weather Service in Ruskin. There's a slight chance of showers Sunday evening in east Hillsborough.

    The sunny forecast is good news for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, whose volunteers have been feverishly stuffing 25,000 plastic Easter eggs with candy and small toys in anticipation of some 7,000 children participating in a hunt Saturday in Curtis Hixon Park.

    "Oh, excellent; that's just what I wanted to hear," said Jesse Miller, marketing coordinator for the center, when she learned of the forecast. "The weather is very important. It would be terrible if it rained." Most know not to put chocolate in their Easter eggs.

    "We found that out the hard way one year," said Gaylin Crenshaw, minister of children at the 77-year-old Pasadena Community Church. "They were Hershey kisses, and by the time the kids got them, they were melted and it was such a mess."

    For its Easter egg hunt Saturday, the church has stuffed about 4,000 plastic eggs with tootsie rolls, fruit chews and plastic toys.

    The normal high for this weekend is in the upper 70s. Sunday's expected high of 85 degrees is just 2 degrees lower than the all-time high for March 31, set in 1965.

    The temperatures at night will remain in the low 60s, which is about normal for this time of year. March has been a seesaw of temperatures with a low of 37 degrees on March 5 and a high of 88 degrees on March 17.

    April is expected to be normal with highs in the lower 80s and lows in the lower 60s.

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