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Weekend Weather Outlook for North Florida:  August 21, 2009

Cold front moves into North Florida Friday and Saturday then dissipates Sunday… Heavy rainfall and strong storms possible… Numerous showers and storms across North Florida then mostly dry beyond Sunday… 

North Florida

Increasing moisture and energy ahead of a cold front approaching from the northwest, combined with existing tropical moisture and local sea breeze boundaries, will result in a widespread coverage of scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms across North Florida Friday.  With a southwest wind flow, showers and storms will initiate across the northern Gulf of Mexico and then spread northeast through the day.  The greatest chance for rainfall will be mainly near and west of I-75, with storms over the Northeast Florida Peninsula largely dominated by scattered sea breeze thunderstorms. 

{sidebar id=1}Although the threat for severe weather is low, a few strong to severe thunderstorms could develop and contain frequent to numerous lightning strikes, small hail and damaging winds in excess of 50mph.  However, due to high atmospheric moisture and light winds, the greatest threat with storm activity through Friday night will be heavy downpours with minor flooding in localized areas.  Showers and thunderstorms could linger well into the evening across much of the area as the actual frontal boundary moves into the Florida Panhandle.  Increasing cloud cover should keep daytime temperatures below 90 degrees, but a little less cloud cover over portions of Northeast Florida could raise daytime high temperatures to the lower 90s with heat index values reaching the upper 90s to as high as 101 degrees.  Mostly cloudy skies Friday night will keep overnight temperatures near or slightly above normal in the mid 70s.

Drier air will filter into the region from west to east behind the cold front, resulting in dry weather conditions for western Panhandle areas by Saturday afternoon and across the eastern Panhandle and western Big Bend by Saturday evening.  However, plenty of moisture and energy ahead of the front will continue to allow widespread showers and thunderstorms to move east through the day, with the best chances for rain across the eastern Big Bend and North Florida Peninsula.  Scattered showers and thunderstorms will likely linger well into the nighttime hours across the North Florida Peninsula and portions of the far eastern Florida Big Bend as the front moves into the area.  Mostly clear conditions are expected for the Florida Panhandle as well as central and western counties in the Florida Big Bend.

Locally heavy rainfall will remain a threat through Saturday night, along with the potential for gusty winds, frequent lightning and small hail within stronger thunderstorm cells.  Cloud cover will again keep daytime temperatures in the upper 80s, but areas behind the cold front that see some more sunshine could see maximum temperatures in the lower 90s.  Saturday night will see a noticeable change in temperatures, especially behind the front across the Panhandle and Big Bend.  Overnight lows will range from the low and mid 70s across Northeast Florida to the upper 60s to around 70 mainly west of I-75.

{sidebar id=1}On Sunday, the front is expected to shift south into the Central Florida Peninsula, with drier air and high pressure to the north resulting in mostly dry conditions through Monday.  Temperatures will be comfortable and near seasonable levels during the day and a bit on the cool side at night.  Daytime highs will be within a few degrees of 90 both Sunday and Monday.  Sunday night lows will generally be in the upper 60s and low 70s, except along the immediate coast where overnight temperatures could only dip to the middle 70s.  On Monday night, onshore winds and increasing moisture in the air will bring overnight lows back into the low and mid 70s across much of the area, though some inland locations near and north of I-10 in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend could continue to see overnight low temperatures in the upper 60s.

Moisture values will gradually increase on Tuesday as high pressure shifts to the Carolina coast and a resulting east wind flow pushes some Atlantic moisture across the state.  This will allow a slight chance for isolated to scattered showers to develop and move west along the Atlantic Coast sea breeze.  The highest rain chances Tuesday will be across Northeast Florida, with mostly dry conditions forecast for areas west of Tallahassee.


At 11am EDT Friday, Hurricane Bill was located 335 miles south-southwest of Bermuda, or approximately 875 miles east of Cape Canaveral, Florida.  Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 115mph, but Bill remains a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.  Although Bill has become a little less organized, some slight re-strengthening is possible over the next day or two.  Bill is currently moving northwest around 18mph, but a gradual turn to the north-northwest is expected late on Friday, followed by a turn to the north on Saturday.  The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center continues to take Bill on a course east of the United States, passing a few hundred miles west of the island of Bermuda Saturday and then towards Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Sunday and Monday.  However, large ocean swells generated by the hurricane will impact the U.S. East coast this weekend.  These swells will likely cause extremely dangerous and life-threatening rip currents along with higher seas and possible beach erosion.

Elsewhere in the tropics, a tropical wave is located in the central Atlantic Ocean about 600 miles southeast of the Windward Islands, with another tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic Ocean about 600 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.  Both of these waves are producing disorganized thunderstorm activity and development of either system is not expected at this time.

Have a great weekend!

Amy Godsey
Deputy State Meteorologist
State Meteorological Support Unit
Florida Division of Emergency Management

This information originally published on August 21, 2009.

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