Another Wet Weekend Expected for the Sunshine State
Unseasonably warm and humid air has penetrated the Sunshine State, but another strong cold front is expected to bring an increase in showers and a cool down for the Valentine’s weekend.
A high pressure system continued to remain over the Atlantic coast Wednesday driving in a southerly warm and moist flow over Florida. Above average temperatures are expected to continue through the end of the work week with highs climbing into the 80s across the majority of the Peninsula and 70s throughout the Panhandle and North Florida. This consistent warmth and humidity will also continue the streak of widespread dense fog each morning.
However, this high pressure system is anticipated to break down as a cold front sags in from the north and drapes across the Florida Panhandle and the northern Peninsula beginning late Thursday night. Scattered showers and a few thunderstorms will be possible along this frontal boundary.
Overnight into Friday the cold front is expected sink further into the Panhandle and the northern Peninsula and stall, which will allow for continuous unsettled weather. This cold front will be slow and likely remain near-stationary over the northeastern Gulf Coast through the weekend. Rain chances will remain elevated through at least Sunday, with a possible decrease in activity by Monday for northern regions. However, by late Monday and into early Tuesday, a strengthening low pressure system in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico is expected to rise northward along the frontal boundary towards the Southeast United States. The strengthening of the low pressure system will allow for one more burst of energy to occur along the cold front and will aid the front to pick up speed and move southeastward through the Florida Peninsula. This departure will allow northern locations to finally dry out beginning late Tuesday and into Wednesday. However, parts of South Florida could experience a slight uptick in shower activity ahead of the cold front as it finally pushes through Wednesday.
Atmospheric conditions over the weekend, do not seem to be conducive enough to support widespread severe weather. However an isolated strong thunderstorm cannot be ruled out in the Panhandle. The main hazard associated with the development of strong storms would be strong wind gusts and frequent lightning. The primary concern this weekend will be the potential for flooding. A few locations have already experienced above average rain totals for the month of February and soils remain saturated from storms last weekend.
Upon the passage of the cold front most areas will experience temperatures near-average for the month of February. Fortunately for the State of Florida, the polar vortex, which will deliver sub-freezing conditions for several days across the Plains, will continue to remain west thanks in part to a persistent ridge over the western Atlantic. This ridge will help to block the progression of the deep trough and keep it towards the central United States.
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