A frontal boundary sliding into the Southeast will begin to enhance thunderstorm activity across North Florida late Thursday and Friday, then potentially produce more widespread rain and thunder across portions of Central and South Florida Saturday and Sunday.

The storm system might also acquire tropical characteristics as it moves offshore into the Atlantic Ocean by early next week.

Thunderstorms capable of producing wind damage, small hail and waterspouts are possible just ahead of the front Thursday evening in northeast Florida, then again Friday across a large section of North and Central Florida.

The Storm Prediction Center placed a small section of Northeast Florida under a "marginal risk" (level 1 out of 5) for wind damage Thursday afternoon and evening.

Friday's afternoon and evening storms will be moving unusually fast for this time of year, with clusters of activity propagating in generally a north-to-south fashion, along with some backing to the southwest. Here are Friday's most likely arrival times for the storms in a few select cities or regions:

Lake City, Jacksonville: 4 to 7 pm
Gainesville, Ocala, Orlando: 5 to 9 pm
Space and Treasure Coasts: 6 to 10 pm
Nature Coast, Lakeland, Tampa: 7 to 11 pm

The storm coverage Saturday will be more focused in Central Florida as the front continues to slide south, although the cells likely won't be as strong or as widespread since the front will be weakening. The greatest concentration of Saturday's storm activity will be near and just south of a line from Tampa to Melbourne, sliding down into portions of South Florida by the early evening. Drier air behind the boundary will keep rain chances lower than normal Saturday across much of North Florida and in the Panhandle.

The weakening front is expected to stall across South Florida Sunday, where numerous showers and thunderstorms are also likely to develop by the afternoon and evening hours, generally speaking from Naples to Miami. Higher-than-normal rain chances will also exist Sunday in the Florida Keys, whereas much of North and Central Florida will be behind the front and largely rain-free.

NEW DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE
NHC: Medium chance of tropical development in next five days.

The frontal boundary sagging across Florida this weekend is tied to a larger area of low pressure that is forecast to move into the Atlantic Ocean early next week, where the National Hurricane Center says there's a "low chance" it could acquire enough tropical characteristics to become a tropical depression or storm in the next five days. If this were to occur, long range forecast data suggests upper-level winds might be too strong or chaotic to allow it to become very organized. However, weak steering currents might eventually allow the system and its associated moisture to drift back in the direction of Florida later in the week.

Expires at 2:00pm on Friday July 23rd, 2021

Deeper moisture is back on the move into Florida this week, making way for numerous thunderstorms to replace the recent stretch of drier weather over the next few days across most of the state.

A slow-moving front drifting through the Southeast is forecast to induce a more dominant southwesterly wind, drawing deeper moisture into the atmosphere from the Gulf of Mexico toward the front. The moisture will intersect the lift from the nearby front in the Florida Panhandle and along the I-10 corridor from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, which is where showers and thunderstorms will be most widespread through midweek.

A second area of higher rain chances will develop this week along a progressive Gulf Coast sea breeze that will likely trigger broken lines of cells on its journey inland each afternoon. Where this boundary interacts with a pinned Atlantic Coast sea breeze is where stronger and more numerous storms could develop by the early evening hours, which will likely be near and just west of the the I-95 corridor from Jacksonville to Miami, including the Orlando metro area.

This type of pattern generally leads to drier weather immediately along the Gulf Coast from Florida's Big Bend to Tampa, including areas along the Nature Coast and near or west of I-75 in North and Central Florida. The added cloud cover from the more widespread thunderstorm activity also tends to limit afternoon heating and reduce daytime highs, which is also in the forecast for most Florida cities. The deeper moisture and stalled front is forecast to linger across much of Florida through at least Thursday, before the front weakens and higher pressure builds in Friday or Saturday.

NEW DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE
NHC: Medium chance of tropical development in next five days.

Expires at 8:00pm on Monday July 19th, 2021

NO CURRENT STORMS IN ATLANTIC BASIN

A Hurricane Warning was issued from Steinhatchee River to Egmont Key, as Tropical Storm Elsa is now expected to become a hurricane prior to landfall along the Nature Coast early Wednesday.

There were no significant changes to the forecast track or overall impacts expected from Tropical Storm Elsa with the special advisory. As expected, the storm has begun to move north, where a path parallel to the west coast of Florida will continue Tuesday evening, followed by an eventual landfall along the Nature Coast early Wednesday.

A Storm Surge Warning continues from Bonita Beach northward to the Apalachee Bay, where a life-threatening storm surge is possible from the persistent onshore winds on Elsa's eastern side. Swift water flooding of 3 to 5 feet above dry ground is possible from Aucilla River to Englewood, including all of the Nature Coast and Tampa Bay. A 2 to 4 foot storm surge is expected for areas farther south to Bonita Beach, with 1 to 3 feet of flooding possible south of there into the Florida Bay and Florida Keys.

A Tropical Storm Warning continues for all Gulf Coast counties in Florida from Flamingo northward to the Ocholockonee River, and from Craig Key westward to Key West. The warning has also been expanded eastward to include inland areas of North Florida from Lake City to Gainesville to Ocala.  Trropical storm force winds in the 40 to 60 mph range are likely in the warned areas as the heaviest rain bands from Elsa rotate through. Wind gusts up to 50 mph are possible farther inland across sections of north and central Florida, also colocated with the heaver rain bands, where the watches are in effect.

A few tornadoes may occur from Tropical Storm Elsa's circulation as far east as the Atlantic Coast Tuesday afternoon. Some of the outer rain bands and squalls may acquire rotation as they pinwheel farther away from the storm's center and encounter a more unstable environment from less cloud cover and warmer afternoon temperatures. Areas most at risk for this to occur are roughly near and east of the I-75 corridor in North Florida and along and east of the Florida Turnpike in Central Florida. Waterspouts and brief tornadoes may also occur from the outer rain bands closer to Elsa's center along Florida's west coast too.

Flash flooding is possible from Tropical Storm Elsa, although the steady forward motion of the storm should prevent it from becoming a widespread hazard. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected across the western half of the Florida peninsula, with isolated amounts up to 6 inches possible. 1 to 3 inches of rain are possible across the eastern side of the state and in eastern portions of the Florida Panhandle from Elsa.

Tropical Storm Elsa is forecast to weaken after the storm moves inland across North Florida Wednesday morning, likely being downgraded to a Tropical Depression as it crosses the border into southeast Georgia Wednesday afternoon. However, enhancements to the typical afternoon downpours may continue well into Wednesday and Thursday across the Florida peninsula thanks to a deep flow of moisture on the southern and eastern side of the tropical storm

Expires at 12:00pm on Wednesday July 7th, 2021

Tropical Storm Elsa emerged over the warm waters of the Florida Straits Monday night, where some strengthening was expected as it reaches the Florida Keys Tuesday morning. Storm surge flooding and minor wind damage are becoming increasing likely along Florida's Gulf Coast from the Big Bend to Naples Tuesday into Wednesday as Elsa passes by.

NO CURRENT STORMS IN ATLANTIC BASIN

As of 11 pm Monday, Tropical Storm Elsa's maximum sustained winds were up to 60 mph and the storm was moving NNW at 12 mph. The forecast track has remained largely unchanged, with a turn to the north expected Tuesday west of Fort Myers and a path parallel to the west coast of Florida Tuesday night and eventual landfall along the Nature Coast or Big Bend regions.

The arrival times of tropical storm conditions along the coast from Elsa are summarized below:

A Storm Surge Warning was issued late Monday afternoon from Bonita Beach northward to the Apalachee Bay, where a life-threatening storm surge is possible from the persistent onshore winds on Elsa's eastern side. Swift water flooding of 3 to 5 feet above dry ground is possible from Aucilla River to Englewood, including all of the Nature Coast and Tampa Bay. A 2 to 4 foot storm surge is expected for areas farther south to Bonita Beach, with 1 to 3 feet of flooding possible south of there into the Florida Bay and Florida Keys.

A Tropical Storm Warning continues for all Gulf Coast counties in Florida from Flamingo northward to the Ocholockonee River, and from Craig Key westward to Key West. Tropical storm force winds in the 40 to 60 mph range are likely in the warned areas as the heaviest rain bands from Elsa rotate through. Wind gusts up to 50 mph are possible farther inland across sections of north and central Florida, also colocated with the heaver rain bands, where the watches are in effect.

A few tornadoes may occur from Tropical Storm Elsa's circulation as far east as the Atlantic Coast Tuesday afternoon . Some of the outer rain bands and squalls may acquire rotation as they pinwheel farther away from the storm's center and encounter a more unstable environment from less cloud cover and warmer afternoon temperatures. Areas most at risk for this to occur are roughly near and east of the I-75 corridor in North Florida and along and east of the Florida Turnpike in Central Florida. Waterspouts and brief tornadoes may also occur from the outer rain bands closer to Elsa's center along Florida's west coast too.

Flash flooding is possible from Tropical Storm Elsa, although the steady forward motion of the storm should prevent it from becoming a widespread hazard. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected across the western half of the Florida peninsula, with isolated amounts up to 6 inches possible. 1 to 3 inches of rain are possible across the eastern side of the state and in eastern portions of the Florida Panhandle from Elsa.

Tropical Storm Elsa is forecast to weaken after the storm moves inland across North Florida Wednesday morning, likely being downgraded to a Tropical Depression as it crosses the border into southeast Georgia Wednesday afternoon. However, enhancements to the typical afternoon downpours may continue well into Wednesday and Thursday across the Florida peninsula thanks to a deep flow of moisture on the southern and eastern side of the tropical storm.

Expires at 5:00pm on Tuesday July 6th, 2021

Uncertainty is "larger than usual" in the long-range forecast for Hurricane Elsa, according to the National Hurricane Center. However, forecasters say storm surge, wind, and rainfall impacts are all possible across portions of Florida early next week.

The season's fifth tropical storm was racing toward the Lesser Antilles early Friday, with maximum winds of 75 mph and a motion to the west-northwest at 28 mph. Tropical Storm Warnings were upgraded to Hurricane Warnings for the central Windward Islands and a Hurricane Watch was issued for the southern coast of Haiti.

NO CURRENT STORMS IN ATLANTIC BASIN

The official forecast track brings Elsa into the eastern Caribbean late Friday, with a trek to the west-northwest Saturday south of Hispaniola, followed by a deceleration and slight northwest turn near the southeastern coast of Cuba Sunday. Gradual intensification is expected over the next 48 hours due to warm sea-surface temperatures, light wind shear and adequate moisture. However, uncertainty abounds on the track, strength and speed of the storm thereafter.

The storm's fast forward speed is one of the many factors contributing to the low-confidence forecast. Strong easterly steering winds could make it difficult for the low- and mid- level circulations to remain in sync along its journey through the eastern Caribbean Sea. Conversely, much weaker upper-level winds are expected to have less of an influence over Elsa when it reaches the northern Caribbean Sea, making subtle changes in its trajectory difficult to pin down. 

At the same time, however, the lighter winds aloft and warmer sea-surface temperatures could enable the storm to intensify at a faster rate than what is explicitly forecast. But complicating matters further are the possible land interactions Elsa may have with the mountainous terrain of Cuba and/or Hispaniola, which could disrupt Elsa's circulation and cause the storm to weaken.

All of these factors yield significant variations in possible affects Floridians might experience from Hurricane Elsa. Therefore, vigilance over action is the best approach for now.

Floridians are encouraged to consider preparations they might be able to complete over the holiday weekend if Elsa were to become a more significant threat by Monday. Periods of heavy rain and strong thunderstorms may make this difficult at times across sections of North Florida and in the Panhandle due to an approaching front. This activity withstanding, a near-normal weather pattern for mid-summer will stay in place through the duration of the upcoming holiday until potential influences from Hurricane Elsa in South Florida Monday.

Elsa became the earliest fifth named storm on record for the tropical Atlantic basin, surpassing the previous calendar year record set in 2020 by Tropical Storm Edouard on July 5. Updates on Tropical Storm Elsa will be available around the clock and from official sources in the Florida Storms mobile app.

Expires at 4:00pm on Friday July 2nd, 2021

An active wave pattern in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the approach of an unusually strong front for this time of year could coalesce to produce several days of soggy weather across portions of the Sunshine State through the upcoming holiday weekend and beyond.

Rain chances will first be on the rise across the western half of the peninsula Tuesday and Wednesday as moisture is drawn back across the state in the wake of a recent pocket of dry air aloft. The flow becomes more southerly by the end of the week, likely yielding higher rain chances and stronger storms across the rest of Florida. This could be capped off by even more rain this weekend across the northern half of Florida from the approach of a slow-moving front, while portion of South Florida may be skirted by tropical moisture moving north out of the Caribbean.

NEW DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE
NHC: Medium chance of tropical development in next five days.

Multiple tropical waves have been observed moving across the Atlantic Ocean in recent days, with one in particular showing signs of tropical development. The wave identified as Invest 95 (for sake of modeling) was located approximately 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Monday evening and moving west-northwest at 15 to 20 mph. The National Hurricane Center has given this disturbance a "medium chance" of becoming a tropical depression or storm, stating in their recent tropical outlooks that development would be slow to occur by the end of the week or this weekend as the system moves into the northern Caribbean.

At this time, a significant threat to Florida from a purely tropical system appears unlikely in the next five to seven days. The interactions of the aforementioned front and strong upper-level winds are likely to prevent that from occurring. However, the tendency for repeating and long-lived episodes of heavy rain in some areas could make flooding a growing concern by early next week, although it's too soon to determine the magnitude and location of such potential.

Expires at 11:59pm on Tuesday June 29th, 2021

Several inches of rain fell this week across Florida, effectively ending a short-term drought in some areas and prompting flood warnings for others. A drier pattern arrives Sunday, but more moisture is on the move next week.

Only a few weeks ago, large sections of South Florida were considered to be in a "moderate drought" according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. This has effectively been erased by several days of repeating rains over the same areas.

Farther north, too much rain has fallen in the past seven days, prompting flood warnings along the Santa Fe and St. Mary's rivers. More than six inches of water has accumulated during the week of June 20-26 across much of North Florida, near Florida's Big Bend, and along the Forgotten Coast.

Rainfall estimates have been in the 2- to 6-inch range across more than 80 percent of the state since last Sunday, with isolated totals topping six inches observed across inland areas of the peninsula near Orlando and east of Tampa. Lighter rainfall amounts were noted across rural sections of South Florida in the past seven days, where a 30-day rainfall surplus in those locations has aided in the eradication of the recent drought.

A pocket of drier air aloft is expected to move across Florida starting Sunday, offering a one or two-day break to the seemingly relentless rains. The typical brief afternoon "Florida" showers will still be possible along the sea breezes, but widespread and long-lasting activity will be on hold across most of the state through at least Monday. Thereafter, a shift in the wind pattern to be more southerly is expected to allow tropical moisture back into the atmosphere, and a rainier pattern is likely to ensue by the middle or end of the upcoming week.

NEW DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE
NHC: Medium chance of tropical development in next five days.

The added moisture that approaches Florida later this week can be traced to a tropical wave that is moving through the Caribbean. Two other tropical waves of interest were recently noted by the National Hurricane Center for potential development, but neither are expected to be a significant or imminent threat to Florida.

Expires at 10:00am on Monday June 28th, 2021

Two robust tropical waves are moving across the Atlantic Ocean this week, with both showing at least a hint of developing. However, neither are expected to become a threat to the United States in the next five to seven days.

NEW DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE
NHC: Medium chance of tropical development in next five days.

The first wave of interest was located a few hundred miles east of Barbados Wednesday evening, where thunderstorm activity had recently flared up. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) have kept chances of tropical cyclone formation very low with this wave, and say only an "increase in shower activity and gusty winds" were expected as moves across the Lesser Antilles on Friday. Upper-level are likely to be too strong for development with this wave as it moves through the Caribbean this weekend, but some of the tropical moisture associated with it may eventually reach the Gulf of Mexico next week.

A second tropical wave appeared stronger and more organized on satellite data as it was emerging off the west coast of Africa Wednesday. Long range forecast models suggest some gradual tropical development may occur with this feature as it traverses the central Atlantic Ocean over the next five days. The National Hurricane Center said there is a "medium chance" it could develop into a depression or named storm as of their Thursday morning update.

Climatologically argues against a tropical storm or hurricane originating east of the Lesser Antilles in late June, as less than 4% of them have done so since 1851. However, both disturbances this week have proven to be stronger than normal for this time of year. Tropical waves that originate over Africa tend to dissipate quickly in the central Atlantic until oceanic and atmospheric conditions become more favorable in late summer or early fall.

Expires at 2:00pm on Thursday June 24th, 2021

Monday was a busy day for forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. There were three systems of interest in the tropical Atlantic basin, but only one that is of particular interest to Floridians.

Chances of tropical development continued to increase in the southern Gulf of Mexico, where forecasters believe a tropical depression or storm may form by the end of the week.

Regardless of its tropical classification, the center of the system is more likely to move toward the coasts of Texas or Louisiana. However, indirect impacts such as heavy rain and high seas could affect sections of Florida's Gulf Coast this weekend.

Here is the latest tropical outlook from the National Hurricane Center...

NEW DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE
NHC: Medium chance of tropical development in next five days.

Tropical Depression Two formed east of North Carolina Tuesday morning, then later that evening strengthened into Tropical Storm Bill.

NO CURRENT STORMS IN ATLANTIC BASIN

Tropical Storm Bill is not a threat to the United States and is likely to dissipate by Thursday or Friday as it races across the cooler waters of the North Atlantic.

The third system of interest is in an area not typical for June tropical cyclone formation.

A strong tropical wave has emerged off the west coast of Africa and a limited window of opportunity for development in the next few days as it moves across the central Atlantic Ocean. Thereafter, conditions are expected to be less favorable for continued strengthening as it moves closer to the Lesser Antilles next week.

 

Expires at 2:00pm on Tuesday June 15th, 2021

A tropical system may form in the southern Gulf of Mexico this week, but current forecast data suggests it is unlikely to be a significant threat to Florida.

A broad area of low pressure over the Bay of Campeche became slightly better organized Sunday, and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center now give it a "medium chance" of become a tropical depression or storm in the next five days. Little change in the environment surrounding the disturbance is expected through Tuesday, but thereafter a tropical wave moving across the Yucatan Peninsula could enhance nearby thunderstorm activity and be the catalyst to cyclone development.

NEW DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE
NHC: Medium chance of tropical development in next five days.

The potential tropical development, identified by meteorologists as Invest 92, is not an immediate or significant threat to Florida at this time. Long range forecast data suggests the system would be steered north and not northeast, placing the Texas and Louisiana coastlines more at risk of direct impacts. However, in this scenario, an abundance of tropical moisture on the system's east side has the potential of reaching the Sunshine State by the end of the week, and indirect tropical impacts such as heavy rain and high seas could not be ruled out.

Elsewhere in the tropics, a disturbance off the coast of South Carolina was also identified by the National Hurricane Center in their Sunday afternoon tropical outlook. It was referred to as a "non-tropical" area of low pressure with only a "low chance" of gradual tropical development as it moved away from the United States.

June is a relatively quiet month in the tropics when compared to the busier months of August, September and October. However, it's not uncommon for tropical storms to form in both regions identified for possible development in the coming days. The next named storm of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season would acquire the name Bill. The first storm of the year, Tropical Storm Ana, was a preseason development that developed near Bermuda on May 22.

Expires at 2:00pm on Tuesday June 15th, 2021

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