Written by Michelle Palmer, Deputy State Meteorologist, FDEM Tuesday, 18 October 2011 17:38
Unsettled Weather Statewide Today with a Slight Risk of Flooding and Severe Weather across the Peninsula… Much Cooler Conditions Arrive Behind a Cold Front on Wednesday and Thursday...
Temperatures will Fall Well-Below Normal for the Weekend … High Rip Current Risk at many Gulf Coast Beaches Today…
Today’s weather will be dominated by three features: a cold front approaching the region from the northwest, a broad area of low pressure in the central Gulf of Mexico and a warm front lifting northward through the Peninsula. As the cold front approaches the state, the area of low pressure will move northward through the Gulf of Mexico and will move into the Florida Gulf Coast near the Big Bend later this evening. As this low moves northward, it will drag a warm front through the Peninsula. All of these features will result in a rainy and windy day with the potential for flooding and severe weather.
Around 1-2 inches of rain is expected to fall over North Florida, for most areas north of the I-4 Corridor today and also across South Florida, mainly south of Lake Okeechobee. Central Florida will likely see around 2-4 inches of rain. Higher rainfall amounts are possible within the strongest storms. This will cause localized flooding in rivers, low-lying areas and on roadways, especially in areas that received a significant amount of rainfall earlier this month. Several river gauges in West Central Florida are expected to reach flood stage or minor flood stage within the next 48 hours.
As the warm front moves through the Peninsula, the risk for severe weather will elevate. The Storm Prediction Center has placed the Peninsula under a Slight Risk for severe weather today. The greatest threats will be wind gusts above 60 mph and isolated tornadoes. A Tornado Watch may be issued for portions of Northeast and Central Florida later today. The risk for severe weather may linger through midnight tonight.
Breezy conditions will likely develop over the Peninsula as the low pressure area passes through this evening and tonight and winds may gust up to 30-40 mph.
A cold front will pass through the Panhandle tonight and this will allow the unsettled weather to gradually diminish over these areas overnight. Behind this front, cooler and breezy conditions may move into Northwest Florida.
High temperatures today will stay near or slightly below normal under heavy cloud cover and in the low 80s statewide. Temperatures will begin to decrease tonight, especially in Northwest Florida where the front is forecast to pass through. Lows will dip into the 50s to low 60s across the Panhandle. Ahead of the front, temperatures will stay near normal and in the low 60s throughout the Big Bend and Northern Peninsula. Central Florida will see lows in the low 70s and South Florida will only dip into the upper 70s tonight.
The cold front will sweep through the Peninsula on Wednesday with cooler, clearer and drier conditions following in its wake. The front will likely pass through Northeast Florida during the morning and is expected to be south of the Peninsula by early Thursday morning. As the front travels southward on Wednesday, a few scattered showers and storms will be possible ahead of the front. There is around a 30% chance of rain in areas north of Lake Okeechobee to account for a stray lingering shower or two. South Florida will continue to have around a 70% chance of rain and a few thunderstorms on Wednesday since it will still be situated under a very moist and unstable atmosphere before the front passes through. South Florida will continue to have a slight risk for frequent lightning and gusty winds in some of the strongest thunderstorms and any additional rainfall may lead to a continued risk of minor flooding. Around an additional inch of rain is forecast to fall over South Florida on Wednesday.
Behind the front in North Florida, breezy and cooler conditions with a mix of clouds and sun will be in place on Wednesday. Sustained winds may reach up to 25 mph with gusts as high as 35 mph and a Wind Advisory may be issued for some Panhandle Counties.
The passage of the front will bring the first real taste of late fall to the state. Temperatures are expected to dip around 10-20 degrees below normal for this time of year through the end of this work week. We will start to see the decline in temperatures on Wednesday as highs only peak near 70° across the Panhandle and Big Bend. The Peninsula will not see too drastic of a change in the high temperatures since the front will just be passing through tomorrow. Highs in Northeast and West Central Florida will stay in the upper 70s while East Central and South Florida have highs in the mid to upper 80s. By Wednesday night, the cooler air will really be able to be felt, especially in North Florida. Lows are forecast to dip into the low to mid 40s throughout North Florida and the Nature Coast. Central Florida can expect lows to dip into the upper 50s while South Florida sees temperatures fall into the mid 60s.
Thursday – Saturday:
Cooler conditions will be in place across the entire Sunshine State for the end of the work week. High pressure will build into the region beginning on Thursday and this will allow wind speeds to decrease. Abundant sunshine will be in the forecast, but this will not be enough to push temperatures to seasonable levels until this weekend.
Thursday will be the coldest day this week as highs drop around 20+ degrees below our record-high temperatures we saw this past weekend. High temperatures on Thursday will stay in the upper 60s for most areas north of Ocala, despite the abundant sunshine. Central Florida will stay in the low 70s and South Florida will see highs in the upper 70s. If the 20 degree difference between our weekend highs to our late work-week highs wasn’t bad enough, our overnight lows will be around 30+ degrees lower on Thursday night compared to this past weekend. Temperatures will fall into the upper 30s to low 40s by daybreak Friday morning in some of the normally colder locations of North Florida and the Nature Coast. Central Florida can expect temperatures to bottom-out in the low 50s while South Florida reaches the mid 50s by early Friday morning. Brrrr!
The good news is that we will start to see a warming trend beginning this weekend as high pressure builds in and our winds begin to shift. High temperatures will reach the low 70s in Northwest Florida Friday and Saturday and will peak in the low to mid 70s across Northeast Florida. Central Florida will rise from the mid 70s on Friday to the upper 70s by Saturday and South Florida will see temperatures increase from the mid to upper 70s on Friday to the low 80s by Saturday. Overnight temperatures will stay in the low 40s Friday night and in the mid 40s by Saturday night in North Florida and the Nature Coast. Central Florida’s low temperatures will stay in the mid to upper 50s each night and South Florida can expect lows to dip into the upper 50s to low 60s on Friday night and the mid to upper 60s by Saturday night.
Our long-term drought, which is shown by the U.S. Drought Monitor, has nearly diminished over the Peninsula. Currently, 50% of the state is under abnormally dry conditions, 18% is under a severe drought and 9% is under an extreme drought with the worst conditions across Northwest Florida. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index shows that North Florida’s short-term drought is persisting but has decreased significantly across the Peninsula. It is estimated that we need 15+ inches of rain across Northwest Florida to relieve us from our long-term drought. Most of South Florida needs around 12-15 inches of rain to decrease the long-term drought. Northeast Florida and extreme coastal areas of Southeast Florida need 12-15 inches while Northern Central Florida, mainly areas between Ocala and I-4, needs 6-9 inches. The rest of Central Florida needs around 3-6 inches to decrease the drought situation. These conditions are forecast to persist across North Florida through the end of the year.
95L, the broad area of low pressure in the central Gulf of Mexico, continues to produce a large area of heavy showers and thunderstorms and winds near tropical storm force. This low pressure area is expected to merge with a cold front and the potential for development has significantly decreased. As of 8AM Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center has given 95L a 10% chance of developing within the next 48 hours as it moves north-northeast at 10-15 mph. Otherwise, tropical development is not expected this week. Click here for more information from the National Hurricane Center.
Rip Currents & Ocean Conditions:
At the coast today, rough ocean conditions in the Gulf of Mexico will result in breaking waves near 3-5 feet along the coastlines of the Florida Panhandle and Peninsula Gulf Coast. These conditions will result in minor coastal flooding and a high rip current risk along the Florida Gulf Coast today. The Atlantic Coast will also have rough ocean conditions and a moderate risk of rip currents. On Wednesday, these conditions will gradually subside and this trend will continue through Saturday. With dangerous surf conditions in place this week, we encourage all beachgoers to swim within sight of a lifeguard. Since 2006, approximately 80% of all rip-current related drowning incidents in Florida occurred at unguarded beaches. Also, www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov can teach you how to escape from a rip current if you get caught. Rip current forecasts can be found here.
Florida NCAA Division 1 Football Forecast:
***Forecast for weekend games will be posted on Friday’s Statewide Weather Outlook***
Tuesday October 18, 2011
FIU @ Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Kick-off: 8:00 PM ET. Temperatures will drop from 46 degrees to 43 degrees throughout the game. Brisk northwest winds around 8 mph will allow wind chills to fall from 43 degrees to 39 degrees. The game will be played under a mostly cloudy sky with minimal rain chances.
Thursday October 20, 2011
Bethune-Cookman @ Norfolk State in Norfolk, Virginia. Kick-off: 7:30 PM ET. Temperatures will dip from 58-53 degrees from kick-off to game’s end under a clear sky. Winds will stay out of the southwest between 11-13 mph.
UCF @ UAB in Birmingham, Alabama. Kick-off: 8:00 PM ET. Temperatures will fall from 48°- 43° during the game as wind chills make it feel like it will be from 46-42 degrees. The game will be played under a crystal clear sky with light west-northwest winds around 3-5 mph.
Saturday October 22, 2011
USF vs. Cincinnati in Tampa, Florida. Kick-off: 12:00 PM ET
FAU vs. Middle Tennessee in Boca Raton, Florida. Kick-off: 1:30 PM ET
UM vs. Georgia Tech in Miami, Florida. Kick-off: 3:30 PM ET
FSU vs. Maryland in Tallahassee, Florida. Kick-off: 3:30 PM ET
FAMU@ South Carolina State in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Kick-off: 7:00 PM ET
Have a wonderful week and remember to get your winter jacket out of storage!!
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