Written by Mary Katherine Westmark Friday, 04 May 2012 15:47
Strong Storms Will be Possible on Sunday through Tuesday as Cold Fronts Interact with the Local Seabreeze...
Cold Fronts Entering Florida will Provide Little Relief from Hot Temperatures... Wildfire Risk to Remain Elevated in Peninsula... Drought Beginning to Ease in Southeast Florida... Wildfire Risk Remains Elevated Over Florida Peninsula...
An upper-level disturbance over the Gulf of Mexico will bring a 30%-40% chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms over a majority of Northwest Florida today. An organized severe weather outbreak is not expected, but a few of the storms may generate wind gusts up to 38mph. In addition, the seabreeze will cause a 20% chance for isolated showers and storms for both Northeast Florida and West Central Florida.
Otherwise Florida will see partly cloudy skies with very hot temperatures. Afternoon high temperatures are expected to soar into the upper 80s into the low 90s throughout North and Central Florida whereas areas of South Florida will see temperatures in the low-to-mid 80s.
For this evening, the rain chances should diminish around 8pm tonight. Overnight conditions will be partly cloudy with temperatures dipping into the mid-to-upper 60s and low 70s statewide. Depending on the rain, some patchy fog will be possible over areas of North and West Central Florida.
For Saturday, a low pressure system will stay north of Florida as it moves into the Ohio River Valley. As a result, a 20% chance for showers and thunderstorms will exist for North and East Central Florida. Although a severe weather outbreak is not expected at this time, upper-level conditions could warrant some of these storms to become strong or even severe. The primary threats will include gusty winds and frequent lightning strikes, but small hail cannot be ruled out either.
Otherwise, Florida will see a hot and humid day with mostly sunny skies and temperatures ranging in the upper 80s and low 90s throughout interior sections of Florida. Areas of Florida near the coast will see afternoon highs in the mid 80s where the ocean helps moderate the temperatures.
Saturday night will be similar to Friday night as far as warm overnight low temperatures and partly cloudy skies. A 20% chance of showers and storms will remain for areas of the Big Bend as well as portions of Northeast and East Central Florida, but the risk for stronger storms should diminish as the night progresses. In addition, depending on the rain, some patchy fog will be possible for areas of North Florida.
The next 3 days will continue to see the same types of conditions. On Sunday, a backdoor cold front will slide towards Northeast Florida before stalling on Sunday night. This front may interact with the local seabreeze which will generate a 40% chance for some showers and thunderstorms for Northeast Florida. The atmosphere will continue to be conducive for some of these storms to become strong with damaging wind gusts, frequent lightning strikes, and small hail being the biggest concerns. Furthermore, a 20% chance for isolated showers and storms also exists for Northwest and East Central Florida in association with the seabreeze.
For Monday and Tuesday, rain chances will range from 20%-50% throughout North and Central Florida as a cold front approaches from the west. Some of these storms, especially near the Panhandle and Big Bend, may be strong. The primary threats will continue to be frequent lightning strikes, isolated damaging wind gusts, and small hail.
Otherwise, skies will be partly to mostly cloudy each day and high temperatures are expected to be in the upper 80s to low 90s for inland areas of Florida each day. Afternoon highs in the mid 80s can be expected near the coast.
The chance for showers and thunderstorms will continue each night. Despite the passage of a cold front, overnight lows are expected to remain warm with temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s.
Offshore winds may turn onshore each day as the seabreeze develops, but the rip current risk should remain low over the next five days. Anyone who plans to enter the water should check their local rip current forecast before going to their beach destination. Everyone should always remember that the safest beaches are the ones protected by lifeguards. Daily surf zone and rip current forecasts for all Florida beaches.
Drought & Fire Weather:
There is a chance for rain each day over areas of Florida, but those showers and thunderstorms are expected to be isolated and rain accumulations are expected to be rather light. In all, only up to 1.5 inches of rain is expected over the next 5 days with higher amounts possible locally. The risk of lightning will combine with the increasing drought conditions to keep the risk of wildfires high over most of the Peninsula for the five days. Recent rainfall will keep the risk for wildfires low over Southeast Florida and the Florida Panhandle.
Short-term drought conditions, as noted by the Keetch-Bryam Drought Index (KDBI), are getting increasingly worse across the entire Peninsula. This means that the vegetation and soils are dry enough to easily ignite into a fire. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, 93% of the state is abnormally dry, with 89% of Florida is experiencing a moderate drought. Meanwhile, 83% of the state continues to experience severe or extreme drought conditions. This means that even though some areas of Florida have seen rain, the most drought-stricken areas continue to worsen and expand.
Long-term drought conditions will continue to persist as it would take an estimated 12-15 inches of rain to relieve the current long-term drought conditions in North Florida, whereas 9-12 inches of rain is needed to eliminate the drought in Central Florida. For South Florida, only 3-9 inches is required to eliminate drought conditions..
Although La Nina conditions are forecast to persist through spring of 2012, Florida will begin to enter its normal “rainy season” within the few weeks. With more seasonable rainfall accumulations in the forecast, drought conditions are expected to have some improvement over North and Central Florida with general drought improvement for South Florida by the end of July.
Have a great weekend!!
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