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Isolated severe weather threat for northern half of the state Friday

Just a few days after tornadoes ripped through parts of the Florida Panhandle, another winter storm is threatening parts of the Sunshine State. Isolated severe thunderstorms will be possible over the Panhandle and the northern half of the Florida peninsula on Friday.

Early on Friday morning, an area of low pressure was strengthening over the Midwest. The storm was producing heaving snow over northern parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois including the Chicago metro area. In addition, the system was producing heavy rain and severe thunderstorms over the Tennessee Valley and Lower Mississippi Valley.

The storm is forecasted to continue on a northeastward track throughout the day Friday, but circulation around the system should drive two fronts, a warm and cold front, through Florida. As these boundaries pass through the state, they could trigger isolated severe thunderstorms over the Panhandle, and north/central Florida.

Meteorologists at the Storm Prediction center outlined the Panhandle, including Tallahassee, Panama City, and Pensacola as under a level two out of 5 risk for severe thunderstorms on Friday. Parts of the peninsula including Jacksonville, Gainesville, Ocala, Tampa, and Orlando are under a level one out of five risk. From these isolated severe cells, damaging wind gusts between 60 and 70 mph will be the primary hazard, however a few tornadoes will be possible too.

Scattered cells are possible throughout the day Friday over the outlined regions as a warm front lift from south to north. During the early afternoon, a broken squall line should then track from west to east through the western Panhandle, followed by the Big Bend during the evening, and the peninsula on Friday night.

As usual, interests in these areas are encouraged to continue monitoring the forecast and to heed weather alerts if they are issued for your immediate area.