The month of February has been very wet for much of the Sunshine State. Parts of North Florida and the Florida Panhandle have seen double the average of rain generally experienced during the the second month of the year. However, drier conditions are finally on the way once a cold front tracks through the state beginning Monday morning.
University of Florida student forecaster Anthony Bordanaro posted a map on Twitter Saturday from the Climate Prediction Center, highlighting the above normal rainfall that has fallen across the northern half of Florida recently.
A low pressure system over the central United States was continuing to move eastward Sunday into the Mississippi River Valley. Ahead of the cold front winds will shift to become more southerly across Florida, increasing atmospheric moisture and surface temperatures. Afternoon high temperatures could rise slightly above average for some locations. Mid to upper 60s are expected for the Florida Panhandle with mid to upper 70s across the Peninsula. A few areas could enter into the lower 80s Monday afternoon ahead of the cold front.
The cold front, by day break Monday, should extend from the low pressure system near the Great Lakes southwestward across the lower Mississippi Valley and into the northwest Gulf of Mexico. Scattered showers will begin first along western portions of the Florida Panhandle Monday morning before spreading eastward into the northern Peninsula in the afternoon and evening. Moderate atmospheric forcing is anticipated which will allow for widespread showers to develop ahead of the frontal boundary. Fortunately, upper level wind shear is expected to remain minimal and be confined offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. This should keep the severe risk minimal across Florida throughout the event, although an isolated strong to severe thunderstorm cannot be ruled out.
The heaviest rainfall is expected across portions of the Big Bend and north and central parts of the Peninsula as a prefrontal trough ahead of the cold front develops over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico and encompassed a large portion of the Florida Peninsula by the early evening. Waves of low pressure energy are expected to develop along the prefrontal trough, especially where it intersects the advancing cold front. Although thunderstorm activity will be minimal the threat for isolated flooding will remain for Monday afternoon and overnight into Tuesday.
The cold front will continue southeastward through Central Florida late Monday night and begin to move into South Florida early Tuesday morning before exiting into the Atlantic. Tuesday will mark the first day of what could be several days of dry and mild conditions across Florida as a surface high pressure system builds in from the west. Temperatures on the backside of the cold front will be cooler, dipping slightly below average, before rising back to near-average Wednesday.
Expires at 10:54am on Monday February 22nd, 2021
A strong storm system has the potential to produce severe thunderstorms across portions of the Sunshine State Sunday night and Monday, which will then be followed by the coldest air of the late fall season for all of Florida.
Thunderstorms capable of producing wind damage and tornadoes will be lined up ahead of a cold front when it arrives near Pensacola and the Emerald Coast late Sunday afternoon and evening. The storms are expected to reach the Panama City and Tallahassee regions later Sunday Night, then move into portions of north and central Florida from Gainesville and Ocala to Jacksonville and Orlando Monday morning. Showers and thunderstorms are also possible in South Florida along the front Monday night, although they will likely be weaker and more on the scattered side.
The air mass following Sunday and Monday's front will be the coldest of the late-fall season. In fact, so cold that the first frost or freeze of the winter will likely occur across inland areas north of the I-4 corridor and across the Florida Panhandle Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
Expires at 6:00am on Sunday November 29th, 2020
The first strong front of the fall season is set to arrive in Florida this week, with widespread showers and thunderstorms marking its arrival and an autumn-like cool down likely in its wake.
Moisture has already been on the rebound across much of the state ahead of the front, which was evident by how numerous and long-lasting the downpours were on Sunday. Wet weather is expected again Monday across most of north and central Florida as a weak warm front lifts north. This will be followed by the arrival of a strong cold front Tuesday and Wednesday, producing another widespread round of showers and thunderstorms ahead of it.
Higher levels of instability and deep amounts of atmospheric moisture are forecast to create an environment favorable for the strong storms across the northern third of the state, including the Floridan Panhandle, Tuesday. The strongest cells would be capable of producing heavy rainfall, gusty winds, excessive lightning, and isolated tornadoes. Localized flash flooding will also be possible, especially across already saturated soil in the Florida Panhandle. Showers and thunderstorms are then likely in portions of central and south Florida when the front arrives in these locations Wednesday, with locally heavy rain and gusty winds also possible.
Many Floridians will find a positive side to this approaching cold front, and that is the return of fall-like temperatures and a drier weather pattern that moves in behind it. Daytime highs will only range from the 70s across the Florida Panhandle and portions of North Florida to the lower 80s in areas farther south across Central Florida. Low temperatures could dip into the 50s and 60s across these areas Wednesday and Thursday mornings, and the below-average temperatures and dry conditions are expected to continue through the end of the week.
While the northern two-thirds of The Sunshine State begin to dry out, the front may have trouble clearing South Florida. As a result, a wet pattern could continue in cities like Key West, Naples and Miami through the rest of the week and into the weekend. Weather models are indicating that the cold front will stall near line from Fort Myers to Fort Pierce, allowing the tropical moisture to remain in place and scattered showers and thunderstorms to continue.
This week's cold front is expected to be the strongest of the season so far, and it would be considered earlier than normal in most Florida cities. For example, a front of this strength wouldn't typically move through Central Florida until sometime in mid-October.
Even though a period of cooler and drier weather is expected later this week across most of the state, it should be noted that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is not over. Tropical storms can and do often develop along stalled fronts of this nature in the Gulf of Mexico or northern Caribbean Sea during the month of October. However, at the present time, there are no tropical threats looming for at least the next five days.
Expires at 12:00am on Tuesday September 29th, 2020