April is typically a calm, comfortable and dry month in North Florida. This year, however, it has been more active and storm systems are being steered in our direction about every two or three days. Over the next 10 days, three of them are likely to influence our forecast, and one in particular could be quite strong on Tuesday or Wednesday. However, a shift in the pattern late next week may finally deliver an extended period of dry and comfortable conditions, the type of weather April is known for. This would certainly make thousands of University of Florida graduates happy, as for the first time in 40 years the ceremonies have been planned outdoors in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. While it’s too early to give a specific forecast for each event, the forecast (at this point) is certainly trending in a positive way. Due to the large amount of attention this event will draw in the coming days, the UF Weather Team has made their Forecast Backstage notes available for even more frequent and technical updates on our sometimes very changeable weather in North Florida.
Next Three Rain Chances
- Thursday‘s system (4/23) is rather weak and the bulk of the rain will move across central and south Florida. However, a few spotty showers or even a stray thunderstorm can’t be ruled out by late afternoon as a weak cold front approaches from the north.
- A slightly stronger cold front will approach the state late Saturday or early Sunday (4/25-26). Current forecast data suggests that a few strong thunderstorms may form near the I-10 corridor late in the day Saturday and drift south during the evening hours. A slightly greater opportunity for showers or thunderstorms will exist on Sunday afternoon as the front stalls nearby and weakens.
- The strongest storm system of all three is slated to arrive Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. This far out, there is considerable uncertainty on the impacts it could have in North Florida. However, at this time, model data suggests there will be an opportunity for a significant rain event and/or the possibility of severe weather at some point in the state Tuesday or Wednesday.
El Niño Influences are EvidentThe more active pattern that we’re in could be, in part, a result of the El Niño circulation that developed over the winter. The warmer than normal water temperatures in the central Pacific often correlate to a stronger than normal subtropical (or southern) jet stream. When this river of air and moisture is more dominant than its counterpart to the north (the polar jet), storm systems are more likely to take the southern route across the United States and are sometimes rather strong. We might have one of those on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, when a large portion of the Southeast U.S. might be impacted by heavy rain or severe weather. As this storm system slowly pulls away, a cooler and drier air mass is forecast to drift in and potentially shut down the subtropical jet stream’s influences on our weather for a few days into early May.