Multiple rounds of thunderstorms will be possible in parts of north and central Florida this weekend. Some of the storms could become strong and produce wind damage or even an isolated tornado. The thunderstorm risk will be mainly confined to central Florida Friday, then spread north into portions of the panhandle and north Florida over the weekend. The strongest and most widespread activity will occur Sunday afternoon and evening when an outbreak of severe weather is possible.
Now is a good time to download the mobile app, Florida Storms, and set up your customized lightning and severe weather alerts for up to eight locations.
Here's a day-by-day breakdown on the where and when the thunderstorms are most likely.
A weak cold front will slow to a crawl as it moves through central Florida Friday. Daytime heating and the interaction of a weak sea breeze will be adequate for robust storm development near or just north of I-4 by early afternoon. The storms will generally move east-southeast and offshore by early evening, with the strongest cells capable of producing wind damage or an isolated tornado.
On Saturday, the aforementioned front will begin slowly retreating north. A similar setup will exist near the boundary where interactions with sea breezes in parts of northeast Florida could briefly produce storms capable of wind damage or small hail. A warm front will develop in the panhandle by Saturday evening triggering a new round of thunderstorms that might also produce wind damage and hail.
A stronger storm system will begin to organize across the northern Gulf of Mexico Sunday, potentially producing an outbreak of severe weather when it arrives Sunday Night. Being that this risk is still a couple of days out, the specifics are not real clear just yet. However, forecast data does suggest that the risk of wind damage, hail, and even a few tornadoes is more substantial with this system. The storm and associated cold front will clear the peninsula sometime on Monday, effectively ending the risk for severe weather at that time.
In addition to the risk of severe weather, heavy rain will occur with many of the thunderstorms. Where some of the cells hit the same locations multiple times, the rainfall will total more than two inches. This is most likely to occur near and north of the I-10 corridor, especially later in the weekend. A soaking rain is likely in most of Florida at some point through Monday, with totals tapering off generally from north to south.
We will provide updates on the risk for severe weather throughout the weekend via Florida Storms on Twitter or Facebook.