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Severe & flash flood threat for Friday

May 16, 2024

Another week ends with the risk of severe weather and flash flooding for Florida´s Panhandle. Friday will be a busy day with the next storm system moving through and affecting this region at least until Saturday afternoon.

A warm front will approach the northern Gulf Coast on Friday, increasing the rain activity and even producing some thunderstorms. But the storms will be punchier by the afternoon and evening as a low-pressure system arrives from the west.

Panhandle threats & timing

The first round of storms moving from Escambia eastward will be after 2 a.m. on Friday. Multiple lightning strikes, thunder, and torrential rains will cause the roads to be wet by sunrise, just in time for the morning commute. Across the central portion of the Panhandle, like in Tallahassee the showers and isolated storms will likely move through between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Flash flooding will be a concern for the extreme western part of the Panhandle. Cities like Pensacola, Crestview, and Destin could receive 2 to 5 inches or rain, and some isolated spots receiving over 6 inches. Make sure to avoid flooded roads.

Storms for Central Florida?

This first round will move with less intensity over North Florida and continue to push east between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Central Florida will have a low chance of an isolated storm in the afternoon.

Another round of storms for the Panhandle

By Friday late afternoon into the evening, the storm risk increases once again in Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa Counties. This is when the center of the low-pressure system will be approaching, the threat of damaging winds, and the chance for a tornado or two to form.

Weekend forecast

By sunrise Saturday, the rain will be widespread with the chance of a few embedded thunderstorms along the I-10 corridor, from Jacksonville through Pensacola. There will be several rounds of showers and storms through the early evening. The good news is that the low-pressure system will move north and away from Florida, taking the biggest threats away from the Sunshine State. The cold front could still travel southward over the weekend and produce a few isolated storms on Sunday for the southern half of Florida, from Orlando to Miami, but we do not expect them to be widespread and severe. The weekend storms affecting the southern half of Florida will resemble more the typical summer-time pattern, building with the day´s heading and affecting the afternoon hours.

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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. 
Sources include the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol and other nearby traffic information.

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Partners of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network include: Florida's Division of Emergency Management, WDNA (Miami), WFIT (Melbourne), WMFE (Orlando), WFSU (Tallahassee), WGCU (Fort Myers), WJCT (Jacksonville), WKGC (Panama City), WLRN (Miami), WMNF (Tampa-Sarasota), WQCS (Fort Pierce), WUFT (Gainesville-Ocala), WUSF (Tampa), WUWF (Pensacola) and Florida Public Media.

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