Written by Bradley Schaaf, Meteorologist, FL Division of Emergency Management Saturday, 27 October 2012 07:52
Hurricane Sandy to Continue Grazing the Atlantic Coast…
Gusty Winds, Occasional Lightning Strikes, Locally Heavy Rainfall, Large Waves, and Elevated Rip Currents will be Possible… Cold Front to Pass Through on Saturday Night into Sunday… It Will Bring Drier and Much Colder Air to Florida… Wildfire Risks Will Remain Elevated Across Panhandle…
Hurricane Sandy will be the main weather driver this weekend across most of Florida. Although no part of Florida is within the 5 day cone of error, this cone does not display the potential impacts. Based on the current forecast, tropical storm force winds could extend as far as 275 miles from the center and might reach portions of the Florida coastline. As a result, a Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the east coast of Florida from north of Deerfield Beach to Flagler Beach (Volusia County through Palm Beach County) and for Lake Okeechobee.
A Tropical Storm Watch is also in effect for the Florida east coast from Flagler Beach north to Fernandina Beach (Flagler through Nassau Counties). Depending on the track and the expansion of Sandy, this watch could be upgraded today. Meanwhile, the Tropical Storm Watch for the Upper Florida Keys from Ocean Reef to Craig Key and the Tropical Storm Warning for Ocean Reef to Deerfield Beach have been discontinued.
Windy conditions will continue through Saturday afternoon for much of eastern Florida. Winds could gust to 40-50mph in the warning area. Storm surge values will raise water levels 1-2 feet above normal tide, but large and battering waves will likely result in beach erosion, coastal flooding and a high rip current risk lasting as long as the middle of next week.
Tropical moisture is already producing rainfall across portions of Florida. Although the flood risk is currently expected to be low, rainfall amounts may reach 1-3 inches along the East Coast with locally heavier rainfall possible. If rain bands become very persistent, this could cause water to collect in flood-prone areas. Any storms may produce occasional lightning strikes, and gusty winds.
Otherwise, the Panhandle and Big Bend will see mostly sunny skies and pleasant conditions. An increase in clouds and breezy winds are expected throughout the western Peninsula, but showers are expected to remain few and far in between.
Overnight conditions may begin to improve on Saturday night as Hurricane Sandy moves further away from Florida. Lingering gusty winds and showers may persist across Northeast Florida, but the general impacts should decrease. Meanwhile, a cold front is expected to pass through Northwest Florida on Saturday night. This front is not expected to bring any measurable rainfall due to the abundance of dry air surrounding Hurricane Sandy, but it will help to reinforce the dry air in the wake of Sandy.
As far as temperatures are concerned, afternoon highs will only make it into the upper 70s across North Florida while Central and South Florida will see low to mid 80s. This 7 degree temperature drop is most likely in response to the breezy conditions.
Overnight temperatures for Saturday night are expected to drop to the low 50s due to the cold front introducing much cooler air over north Florida. Meanwhile, the clearing skies will allow lows to drop into the low to mid 60s across Central and South Florida.
As Sandy moves away from Florida, a large area of high pressure will take its place. This will lead to three days of mostly sunny skies across the state. Rain chances will nearly diminish and the breezy winds from Saturday will begin to weaken. Winds are forecast to be from the northwest between 5 and 15 mph.
This cold front will bring much cooler and drier weather into Florida causing temperatures to drop about 5 to 10 degrees below normal. On Sunday, highs are expected to be in the upper 60s across the west panhandle to the mid to upper 70s across the Big Bend and Northeast Florida. Since Central and South Florida will not have seen the effects of the front, temperatures are forecast to remain in the low 80s. On Monday and Tuesday, High temperatures are expected to only rise into the upper 60s across all of North Florida while staying in the low to mid 70s across the rest of the Peninsula.
As the cold front progresses through Florida, the overnight low temperatures are only expected to get chillier. Sunday night lows will follow a similar progression as the highs with lows descending into the mid to upper 40s across North Florida while remaining in the 50s and low 60s across Central and South Florida. For Monday and Tuesday, the cold weather will spread across Florida as temperatures plummet to the low to mid 50s across Central and South Florida. The effects will be the most prevalent, however, across North Florida where temperatures are expected to drop into the low 40s with some spots having the potential to drop in the upper 30s.
At the coast, large breaking waves and strong winds from Hurricane Sandy will generate a high risk of rip currents for the entire Atlantic Coast for the next 4 days. Meanwhile, these same winds are generating choppy waters and a moderate risk of rip currents across the Gulf Coast from Pasco County southward. This moderate rip current risk will linger into the Sunday before dropping to low levels. Otherwise, the Panhandle coast should see a low risk of rip currents for the next 4 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.
Drought & Fire Weather:
The combination of little rain this past week, drier air behind the cold front, and breezy winds will elevate the risk for wildfires across the Florida Panhandle to moderate levels. These elevated risks are expected to linger through the next 4 days. As a result of these conditions, red flag warnings may be needed on Monday and Tuesday. Meanwhile, the rest of the Peninsula will continue to dry out, but wildfire risks will remain low.
As we begin entering our dry season (and the start to the new water year), most of Florida is not seeing much of a departure from normal. According to the Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service, there are spots along the Florida Peninsula which have seen a surplus of rain so far for the month of October. Similarly, there are portions of the extreme western Panhandle which are seeing slight rain deficits. Neither factor is expected to change much within the next 4 days.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Drought Monitor continues to show that Florida is 100% drought-free! Seasonable rainfall accumulations are expected to keep Florida from entering a long term drought for the next 3 months. Although long term droughts have been eradicated, short term drought values, as provided by the Keetch-Bryam Drought Index, are increasing every day there is little to no rain.
At 2PM EDT Friday, the center of Hurricane Sandy was located about 225 miles east-southeast of Melbourne, Florida. Sandy is moving north at 7 mph. This motion is expected to continue through tonight, but a turn toward the north-northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected to occur tonight and Saturday. This will place the center of the storm approximately 170 miles off the coast of Florida this afternoon.
The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows an increasingly large Sandy paralleling the East Coast of Florida through early Saturday morning, then paralleling the Southeastern U.S. Coast through early Monday before turning back to the northwest and eventually making landfall early Tuesday along the Mid-Atlantic or New England coast.
Maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph, making Sandy a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. No significant change in strength is expected over the next 48 hours as Sandy continues to interact with increasing wind shear and dry air. Sandy is forecast to remain a hurricane through Tuesday before becoming an extratropical or hybrid storm as it merges with a cold front, but this transition may occur sooner.
Florida NCAA Division 1 Football Forecast:
Saturday October 27, 2012
FAMU – Bye Week
UM – Bye Week
UF @ Georgia in Jacksonville, FL. Kickoff 3:30pm ET: Temperatures are expected to remain rather cool during the game at a steady 76° throughout the entire game. Although the effects of Sandy will be on the decline Saturday afternoon, there will still be a 20% chance of showers throughout the game under partly to mostly cloudy skies. The residual effects of Sandy will mostly be in the form of Wind, instead of rain, with winds coming from the Northwest between 20-25 mph with gusts up to 36 mph.
FSU vs. Duke in Tallahassee, FL. Kickoff 3:30pm ET: Saturday will be a great day for football in Tallahassee as temperatures are forecast to remain steady around 77° from Kickoff to the final whistle. Overall conditions will be pleasant with partly cloudy skies with a 10% chance of rain. Winds will be from the northwest between 15-20 mph.
Bethune-Cookman vs. North Carolina Central in Daytona Beach, FL. Kickoff 4:00pm ET: The effects of Hurricane Sandy will continue to wane as this game progress and Sandy moves to the north. Tropical Storm conditions will be possible, but they are not likely to occur during the game. Temperatures will decrease from 79° during the pregame festivities to about 74° at the game’s conclusion. The game will be played under partly to mostly cloudy skies with a 40% chance of accompanying showers. Winds will also be from the northwest around 26 mph with gusts of up to 37mph.
FAU vs. Troy in Boca Raton, FL. Kickoff 5:00pm ET: Conditions will be significantly better than they were earlier this week. Temperatures are expected to decrease from 80° at the coin toss to about 73° during the final drive. Rain chances will be a mere 10%, and they will be accompanied by mostly sunny skies. Winds will still be breezy out of the northwest between 20-25mph with gusts up to 35 mph.
FIU vs. Western Kentucky in Miami, FL. Kickoff 6:00pm ET: Temperatures are expected to drop from 79° at the start of the game to about 74° by game’s end. Mostly sunny skies will be replaced with mostly clear skies, but rain chances will remain a mere 10%. Winds are anticipated to be from the west-northwest between 20 and 23 mph with gusts up to 32 mph.
USF vs. Syracuse in Tampa, FL. Kickoff 7:00pm ET: Temperatures will descend to about 70° at the end of the game from about 75° at kickoff. This game will be played under partly cloudy skies. Rain chances are expected to be negligible and winds are expected to also be from the northwest between 10-17mph with gusts up to 20mph.
UCF @ Marshall in Huntington, WV. Kickoff 8:00pm ET: Conditions will be much colder in West Virginia than they will be in Florida. Temperatures will decrease from 48° at the coin toss to about 45° at the end of the game. Mostly cloudy skies will accompany a 30%-40% chance of showers throughout the game. Winds, however, will be much weaker, around 5-10mph, from the north.
Have a great weekend!
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