Severe Thunderstorms Likely in Florida Sunday

– Greatest risk of a tornado in northeast Florida

– Elevated risk of wind damage across nearly the entire peninsula

– Some areas will see at least two rounds of severe thunderstorms


 

An intense, multifaceted storm system is expected to bring strong or severe thunderstorms to nearly the entire state of Florida Sunday.  A few tornadoes, wind gusts up to 80 mph, and hail up to size of nickels are possible in the strongest cells. The greatest risks of severe weather will accompany a squall line that is expected to cross the peninsula Sunday afternoon and evening.

Over 100 reports of damage came in from this storm system across the Mid-South on Saturday.

 

Two rounds of thunderstorms had already hit parts of the Florida Panhandle Saturday, but another round was possible overnight and into the early hours of Sunday.  An area of low pressure is expected to strengthen across the Gulf Coast states Sunday morning, which will place the rest of the peninsula under a risk for severe weather by afternoon and evening.

 

The latest forecast data from Saturday evening has confirmed our earlier thinking on the timing…

– Panhandle (Tallahassee): 9 am to 3 pm

– North Florida (Gainesville, Ocala, Jacksonville): 12 to 8 pm

– Central Florida (Tampa, Orlando): 3 to 10 pm

– South Florida (Ft. Myers, Miami, Ft Pierce): 9 pm to 3 am

 

Storm Hazards

Sunday’s storms could produce all forms of severe weather. However, there are certainly areas that are under a greater risk for certain hazards.

severe risk

The tornado risk is highest in the northern part of the state, especially in the early part of the afternoon. Locations near and north of a line from Spring Hill to St. Augustine, and primarily east of Tallahassee should be particularly diligent in having a way of being notified if a tornado warning is issued.

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Wind damage could be widespread in some parts of Florida in the wake of a squall line that develops ahead of the front.  Nearly all areas of the peninsula are at some risk for wind gusts of 60 to 80 mph in the strongest cells.

Hail up to the size of nickels can’t be ruled out in the strongest storms, although this risk is fairly minimal compared to the wind and tornado threats.

Localized flooding is also possible in locations that receive multiple rounds of thunderstorms Sunday.  Rainfall will generally range from 1 to 2 inches in most spots, but some locally higher totals are possible.