Written by Bradley Schaaf, Meteorologist, FL Division of Emergency Management Saturday, 21 July 2012 10:40
High Pressure to Move Across Florida Allowing Seabreeze to Trigger Thunderstorms For the Next 5 Days… Some Storms May Become Strong With Frequent Lightning Gusty Winds and Heavy Rainfall…
Hot Temperatures and High Heat Index Values Continue Into Next Week…Elevated Risk of Rip Currents Exists Along Many Florida Beaches…
As the area of low pressure that Florida has been experiencing over the last several days moves northward and dissipates, high pressure is expected to take its place. High pressure will likely extend from the Atlantic over Northeast Florida and into the Gulf on Saturday. Continual southerly wind flow may cause seabreeze induced afternoon showers and thunderstorms throughout the weekend. The Panhandle, still under the influence of low pressure, has the highest rain chances on Saturday with a 40-60% range. The Peninsula, mainly under high pressure, has a 20-30% chance of rain.
A tropical wave to the southeast of Florida should begin to move closer to South Florida on Saturday night as it moves westward. This will provide more moisture and scattered showers to the South starting late Saturday night. Therefore, the Keys have a 40% chance of overnight rain and the rest of the state has a 20-30% likelihood.
As the tropical wave continues to move to the west on Sunday, the area of high pressure should drift northwestward. Central and South Florida’s rain chances increase to 40-50%, while North Florida’s chances of rain are expected to be lower at 30-40%. The possibility of lingering showers provides a 20% chance of rain for the Panhandle and a 30% chance of rain for the Peninsula on Sunday Night.
The Western Panhandle may receive close to 3 inches of rain and the rest of the state may get up to a half an inch of rain by Sunday. However, some slow moving storms can produce locally heavy rainfall of up to 2 inches. Some thunderstorms are expected to be scattered in nature and a few may become strong with gusty winds and frequent lightning being the main threats.
Statewide high temperatures this weekend are expected to reach the upper 80s to low 90s along coastal areas and low to mid 90s inland. Heat index values for Florida may range from 100-105 degrees and some inland areas may reach 105-110 degrees. Nighttime low temperatures should be in the low 70s for interior Central and North Florida and mid to upper 70s along the coast. South Florida evenings will be slightly warmer with lows in the upper 70s to low 80s.
High pressure is expected to reposition itself over the state. This will limit storm activity across much the state on Monday and Tuesday. However, the seabreeze will likely trigger isolated to scattered showers, mainly during the afternoon hours.
For Northwest Florida, rain chances on Monday will remain in the 40% range. These rain chances may be a bit higher along the east coast as increased moisture associated with a tropical wave from the Atlantic moves over Florida. Meanwhile, Central and South Florida will have rain chances in the 30-50% range. On Tuesday, this pattern will continue, but the likelihood for rain will decrease to the 25-35% range for North and Central Florida while South Florida experiences a 20% chance.
Sunshine and partly cloudy skies will allow temperatures to peak into the upper 80s near the coast and low to mid 90s inland. This daytime temperature pattern will continue statewide into Tuesday but North Florida may heat up a few degrees, especially inland. Overnight lows will remain rather seasonable statewide with temperatures in the mid 70s inland while portions of the coast will reach the upper 70s to low 80s.
At the coast, onshore winds and waves will generate a moderate risk of rip currents for Southeast Florida beaches today. This moderate risk of rip currents will extend into East Central Florida beaches tomorrow and will likely persist through Monday before reducing back to low levels on Tuesday.
Additionally, Panhandle beaches will see an increase in onshore winds beginning tomorrow which will lead to a moderate risk of rip currents. This moderate risk of rip currents will likely linger until Sunday when a low risk of rip currents is expected to last until Tuesday.
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:
Recent rainfall accumulations as well as current rain chances will generate a low risk for wildfires across Florida for the next 5 days. In addition, our drought conditions have nearly diminished statewide. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 18% of the state is at least abnormally dry and 6% of the state is experiencing a moderate drought. The remaining 82% of Florida is currently drought-free! Although Tropical Storm Debby has eliminated most of our drought situation, areas of Northwest Florida are still missing up to 20 inches of rain since October. The estimated 3 inches of rain over the Panhandle for the next 5 days may help reduce the moderate drought conditions. In addition, the Keetch-Bryam Drought Index, or short-term drought index, also shows that much of the Florida Panhandle is under a short-term drought. The long-term drought in Florida has improved considerably, and forecasted above average seasonable rainfall accumulations are expected to keep Florida from reentering a long term drought for the next 3 months.
Currently, there is no tropical development expected within the next 48 hours. Although there are a couple of tropical waves over the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, none of the computer models predict any further development for the next seven days. More information from the National Hurricane Center can be found here.
Have a great weekend!!!
Alexandra Keclik, Meteorologist Intern
Daphne Girisgen, Meteorologist Intern
Bradley Schaaf, Meteorologist
State Meteorological Support Unit
Florida Division of Emergency Management
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