Update 3:45 PM: Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect until 10 PM for Orlando, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, and the Vero Beach area, and surrounding areas of Central and South Florida. It does not yet include Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Tornado Watch has been canceled for most of North Florida.
Line of thunderstorms with strong winds has progressed to near Daytona, Orlando, and Port Charlotte. It is headed for Fort Myers during the 4 o'clock hour, the Space Coast and Palm Bay area during the 5 o'clock hour. Prepare for locally damaging winds, lightning, and torrential rain.
Update 1:50 PM: Severe Thunderstorms with widespread strong winds and pockets of wind damage are headed for Daytona Beach and Orlando. These storms will be out of the Tampa/St Pete area before the peak of the evening rush hour.
Update 12:10 PM: Severe Thunderstorms with wind gusts in excess of 60 mph have occurred in parts of North Florida, including trees down along Highway 19 in Levy and Dixie counties. Wind gusts to 59 mph were reported on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, and a 53 mph wind gust at the Gainesville Regional Airport. A possible tornado was reported by the Columbia County Emergency Manager, southwest of Lake City.
Update 11:00 AM: Tornado Watch is in effect until 4 PM for Northeast, North-Central, and West-Central Florida. A line of storms will move through the watch area during the early and mid-afternoon hours. The primary threat will be wind damage; however, isolated, brief tornadoes may spin up. Lightning and downpours will accompany the storms as they move through.
A dangerous squall line of thunderstorms is expected to sweep across the entire Florida Peninsula today.
The greatest risk to life and property from this event will come from straight-line winds. The Storm Prediction Center says a few isolated tornadoes may develop today. As the line of storms moves eastward through the Big Bend and Peninsula, straight-line winds may be powerful enough to uproot trees and damage some structures.
Most likely arrival times Friday
- Lake City - Noon to 1 pm
- Jacksonville - 1 to 3 pm
- Gainesville - 1 to 2 pm
- Ocala - 1 to 3 pm
- Tampa - 2 to 4 pm
- Orlando - 3 to 5 pm
- Ft. Myers/Naples - 5 to 7 pm
- Melbourne - 5 pm to 7 pm
- Key West, Miami, West Palm, Ft Lauderdale - 9 pm to 11 pm
Forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center have been highlighting the potential hazard for several days, and the approaching storm system has already proven destructive. More than 400 reports of large hail, wind damage or tornadoes were reported Wednesday and Thursday in the central and southern U.S.
Before the storms arrive, The National Weather Service also says south to southeast winds may gust between 30 and 40 mph because of the interactions between the approaching storm system and the strong area of high pressure in the Atlantic Ocean.
The front is expected to clear South Florida Friday night, leaving behind a much cooler, less humid - and more stable - air mass for the weekend.