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Areas Of Stormy Weather Still Likely This Weekend Over Florida

Several rounds of thunderstorms are possible over different portions of the Sunshine State this weekend.

Several atmospheric disturbances were located over the Central and Western United States. Energy from the main storm, centered over Iowa, helped to fuel heavy rain and a few strong thunderstorms over the Tennessee Valley and the Central Gulf Coast Thursday.

A second, stronger system will enter the Central Plains from the Rocky Mountain west Friday afternoon. Ahead of it, southerly winds will draw a pool of warm and moisture rich air from the Gulf of Mexico into the Mississippi Valley. Thunderstorms were already developing Friday morning over the Panhandle, from Tallahassee westward to Panama City and Pensacola.

Upper atmospheric winds are expected to increase likely leading to the development of a large cluster of strong to severe thunderstorms near the Central Gulf Coast Friday night. This line of storms will be pushed eastward into the Panhandle as soon as the pre-dawn hours of Saturday and lasting through midday Saturday farther east toward Tallahassee. Powerful winds are possible along the leading edge of the cluster. Periods of excessive rainfall rates, thanks to copious Gulf moisture in place, will also pose the threat for flash flooding. In addition, isolated tornadoes could develop, especially ahead of the main line of storms Saturday morning.


Credit Megan Borowski / FPREN

The line of storms is likely to weaken somewhat as it moves toward the Florida Peninsula Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. Despite its weakening trend, pockets of wind damage are possible into the Lake City and Gainesville areas Saturday afternoon or evening. The most unstable and humid air mass will tend to be located closer to the Gulf side of the state. As a result, a few strong gusts are possible along the Nature Coast and potentially into the Tampa/St Pete and Sarasota areas later Saturday afternoon or evening. The air is unexpected to be more stable and less conducive for damaging storms east of Interstate 75, but some showers or thunderstorms are still a possibility Saturday afternoon and evening from Jacksonville south to Daytona, Orlando, and the Space Coast areas.

Yet another upper air disturbance is likely to take a track along the Gulf coast Saturday night into Sunday. Another round of showers and thunderstorms is likely, but there is greater uncertainty where the highest impacts from this final round will be. Based on the best available data from Friday morning, storms are likely to develop again near the Panhandle coastline Saturday evening and then spread toward a large portion of the Florida Peninsula, including South Florida, during the day on Sunday. Heavy rain and flooding will be the primary concerns over the Panhandle, but the chance of damaging winds and hail will be present over much of the Florida Peninsula during the second half of the weekend.

Leftover showers and thunderstorms are possible over South Florida Monday morning, but the remainder of the state is likely to see a drying trend to start next week if current trends hold.

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Megan Borowski
Ray Hawthorne