Written by Michelle Palmer, Deputy State Meteorologist, FDEM Tuesday, 22 May 2012 17:54
Scattered Showers and Thunderstorms in the Forecast across North and Central Florida Today… A Few Severe Storms are Possible…
Drier and Hotter Conditions Arrive in North Florida Later this Week… Scattered Afternoon Showers and Storms Remain in the Forecast for South Florida… Moderate Rip Current Risk at Many Atlantic Coast Beaches this Week… This Week is National Safe Boating Week!…
Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop over most of North and South Florida today. A weak front moving through the Southeast U.S. will be the focus of showers and storms across North Florida. A few locations may see some rainfall ahead of this front this morning, but the majority of the showers and storms are not expected to develop until this afternoon. There is around a 30-50% chance of rain over all of North Florida and the Storm Prediction Center has placed the extreme northern-central portions of the Panhandle under a Slight Risk for severe weather. While thunderstorms will be scattered this afternoon widespread severe weather is not expected. However, a few of the afternoon storms that reach strong to severe levels may be capable of producing damaging winds greater than 60 mph and moderate-sized hail. Most shower activity will slowly begin to diminish after sunset this evening with foggy conditions in the forecast by tomorrow morning.
With plenty of moisture lingering over South Florida, scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop again today. Rain chances are near 50% and total rainfall amounts may reach up to an inch. Localized flooding of roadways and low-lying areas is possible within the heaviest downpours. Most shower and storm activity will slowly dissipate after sunset, but a few lingering storms may continue to impact coastal areas through the overnight hours.
Highs today will peak in the upper 80s to low 90s statewide. For tonight, our lows will dip into the 60s in North Florida and the low to mid 70s across Central and South Florida.
Wednesday – Saturday:
For the Florida Panhandle, conditions will be mostly dry through the rest of the week as dry air filters into the region. This will keep mostly sunny skies and very warm temperatures in place. A few isolated showers and storms may develop on Wednesday afternoon and again Saturday afternoon, but rain chances are less than 20% and nearly the entire Florida Panhandle will stay dry. High temperatures will peak in the low to mid 90s each day this week. The overnight conditions will also be warm with temperatures falling into the mid to upper 60s Wednesday and Thursday nights and into the low 70s Friday and Saturday nights.
Northeast Florida will also stay mostly dry this week but with slightly higher rain chances than the Florida Panhandle. A few stray afternoon showers and thunderstorms may develop each day this week and rain chances are near 20-30%. The greatest chance for an isolated shower will be on Saturday. High temperatures will peak in the upper 80s near the coast and in the low 90s in inland areas each day this week. For the overnight lows, temperatures will dip into the mid to upper 60s Wednesday and Thursday nights and into the low to mid 70s Friday and Saturday nights.
For Central Florida, a 20-30% chance of rain will remain in place each afternoon this week. Most areas will stay dry but a few storms may develop as the afternoon seabreezes move inland. Highs will reach the low 90s and lows will stay in the low to mid 70s.
South Florida will continue to see scattered showers and storms in the forecast each day this week as a disturbance moves through the southern Peninsula and the typical summer-like pattern remains in place. A 50% chance of rain will be in place over the area on Wednesday and this chance decreases to around 30% for the rest of the week. Some of the afternoon storms may be capable of producing heavy downpours that may cause minor flooding on roadways and in low-lying areas. High temperatures will reach the mid to upper 80s near the coast each afternoon with interior locations peaking in the low 90s. The overnight temperatures will dip into the mid to upper 70s near the coast and the low 70s over inland areas each night this week.
For the overnight forecasts, with calm overnight winds and just enough moisture in place, areas of fog will likely develop across most of the state each night this week. Some locations may see dense fog with dangerous visibilities on roadways. The greatest chance for fog will be over interior portions of the Peninsula.
Fire Weather & Drought Conditions:
With dry air and our current drought conditions in place, our wildfire threat will remain elevated each day this week, especially over North and Central Florida. Additionally, any cloud-to-ground lightning strikes associated with the afternoon storms may spark new wildfires.
This will keep our wildfire threat elevated through the end of this week. Everyone is urged to exercise extreme care with respect to outdoor activities that could cause wildfires. Avoid the use of any equipment that can cause sparks near dry grass. Do not toss lit cigarettes on the ground. Quickly report new wildfires to the nearest fire department or law enforcement office. We encourage all residents and visitors to stay Firewise. County-wide Burn Bans are in effect for Flagler, Glades, Hendry, Lake, Okeechobee, Osceola, Pasco, Polk, Putnam, Seminole and Volusia Counties.
The U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly 93% of the state under moderate drought, 83% of the state under a severe drought and around 41% under an extreme drought. Exceptional drought conditions now cover nearly 12% of Northeast Florida and the Suwannee Valley (this is the highest category of drought on the Drought Monitor). Drought conditions have nearly diminished over Southeast Florida due to the summer-like rainfall pattern that has developed. It is estimated that the Florida Panhandle needs around 12-15 inches of rainfall to diminish the long-term drought conditions. All areas of Northeast and Central Florida need 9-12 inches of rain to completely relieve the long-term drought. Elsewhere, South Florida needs an estimated trace to 3 inches. The good news is that these conditions are forecast to begin to begin to improve as the summer showers begin to develop and we may see some long-term drought improvement through late July.
Ocean swells from distant Tropical Depression Alberto will begin to subside and there will be a moderate rip current risk at the beaches of Northeast and East Central Florida today. There will be a low risk at the rest of the Sunshine State’s beaches today. These same conditions will likely persist on Wednesday. By Thursday, increasing winds along the Atlantic Coast will elevate the risk from Nassau County through Miami-Dade County and this will likely continue through the upcoming weekend. Increasing onshore winds along the Panhandle coast through the week may also elevate the risk along the Emerald Coast. We encourage all beachgoers that plan to enter the surf to look for warning flags and to also swim within sight of a lifeguard. Everyone should check their local rip current forecast and learn how to escape a rip current before going to their beach destination.
As of 11am Tuesday, Tropical Depression Alberto became a post-tropical cyclone over the Western Atlantic. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 35 mph and Alberto will likely dissipate within the next couple of days. Alberto is moving quickly toward the northeast at 15 mph and this general motion is expected to continue through the next couple of days as Alberto stays well off the U.S. Coastline. The National Hurricane Center has issued the last advisory on Alberto.
This week is National Safe Boating week!!
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