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Another Round of Strong Storms Possible for Monday

Strong Storms Possible Again for Monday Ahead of a Cold Front
Storm Prediction Center
Strong Storms Possible Again for Monday Ahead of a Cold Front

The wet Valentine’s weekend is expected to extend into the new work week as a stationary front continues to drape itself over portions of the Florida Panhandle and North Florida. Scattered shower and thunderstorms, some of which could be strong, are anticipated across the Sunshine State for one more day before a brief dry period returns to the state.

A stalled frontal boundary, associated with an area of low pressure sitting off the coast of the Carolinas, continued to be situated over North Florida late Sunday. The interaction of the frontal boundary and the rich moisture from the Gulf of Mexico surging northward has allowed for the development of showers and thunderstorms over the last few days across Florida.

The unsettled weather pattern is expected to continue through the beginning of the work week as the frontal boundary remains pinned across the northern Peninsula. However, a deepening low pressure in the eastern Gulf of Mexico will begin to lift northeastward over the Florida Panhandle overnight Sunday and into Monday morning. One last boost of energy will be given to the frontal boundary Monday before the low pressure system drags the cold front eastward and out of the state.

The Storm Prediction Center Sunday evening issued a slight risk (hazard level 2 out of 5) for central portions of the Florida Panhandle and the northern Peninsula for Monday. A marginal risk (hazard level 1 out of 5) is in place for extreme western Panhandle locations and Central Florida. Rich moisture advecting northward during the day and daytime heating should create moderate instability in the atmosphere which could aid in producing strong storms. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and along the western Florida Panhandle beginning Monday morning. The activity is expected to spread eastward through the rest of the Florida Panhandle during the afternoon and reach into the northern Peninsula by the late afternoon and evening.

A few storms could reach severe levels throughout the day ahead of the cold front. Strong, potentially damaging straight-line winds, and a few isolated tornadoes will be possible in some thunderstorms. Isolated flash flooding will continue to remain a threat throughout the region due to the continuous rain that has fallen over the last few days.

This low pressure system will continue to gain latitude and move through the Mid-Atlantic and New England overnight Monday and into Tuesday. This will allow for the cold front to quickly pick up speed and move through the rest of the Peninsula before exiting out into the Atlantic late Tuesday night. Scattered showers and thunderstorms ahead of the front will be possible across Central Florida during the evening and overnight Monday before approaching South Florida Tuesday.

Upon the passage of the front, high pressure will begin to build over the Tennessee River Valley and move northward towards the Great Lakes directing in a more northerly flow. Temperatures are expected to return to near average across the state for Tuesday with highs in the upper 60s in the central and eastern Panhandle, and 70s throughout the Florida Peninsula. The only location that will be experiencing below average temperatures will be parts of the western Florida Panhandle, which will be closest to the polar trough that continues to deliver harsh winter conditions to parts of the Plains. High temperatures will only climb into the mid to upper 40s Tuesday.

The dry and slight cooler conditions will be brief before another storm system develops over the Deep South and northern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday and Thursday. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible during the time period, along with warmer than average temperatures returning.

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Dr. Athena Masson