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Summertime pattern of heat & daytime thunderstorms return to Sunshine State this week

May 9, 2023

A preview of summertime heat builds this week, resulting in daily chances for thunderstorms across the state.

Surface analysis Tuesday afternoon depicts a sprawling area of high pressure anchored over the Florida Panhandle, with a slow-moving cold front draped across the Mid-South. Ahead of the cold front, some of the warmest temperatures of the season are expected Tuesday into Wednesday as a number of towns reach 90 degrees. Dew points across the Sunshine State are climbing through the 60s, with a few sites reporting dew point temperatures in the lower 70s. The high pressure is forecast to gradually shift southeastward through Tuesday and Wednesday, allowing the cold front to push into the Panhandle and North Florida. The combination of above-average warmth and an approaching cold front will result in widespread thunderstorm activity by midweek.

Storms are likely to develop first along the Atlantic sea breeze early Wednesday afternoon, before eventually colliding along the center of the state during the afternoon and evening hours. The combination of a moisture-rich environment and atmospheric lift provided by the nearby cold front will result in widespread storm development even outside of the smaller-scale sea breeze activity. Localized downpours and frequent lightning are most likely with Wednesday's convection, which could lead to a few pockets of brief flash flooding. The Storm Prediction Center does not indicate a severe threat Wednesday, however, this setup is well-known for producing a few pulse severe thunderstorms. Given the atmospheric setup, the strongest cells could be capable of producing a gusty winds.

The cold front responsible for Wednesday's storm chances will push into Central and South Florida Thursday into Friday, resulting in a confined area where storms are more likely. A brief period of slightly cooler temperatures are expected across the Panhandle and North Florida during this time, but temperatures are forecast to climb by the upcoming weekend. The Climate Prediction Center does depict an above-average temperature pattern in the Sunshine State through mid-to-late-May.

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Sources include nearest National Weather Service office, National Hurricane Center, and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (@FloridaStorms).
Sources include nearby emergency management agencies, FEMA, and your local NPR affiliate. 
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