A strong spring storm will send a cold front quickly through all of Florida by midday Thursday. The system was approaching the western side of the panhandle Wednesday afternoon, and a “Particularly Dangerous Situation” Tornado Watch was issued by the National Weather Service for Panama City and points north until 8 pm.
— Florida Storms (@FloridaStorms) April 5, 2017
A midday update from NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center placed much of north and central Florida in an elevated risk zone for wind damage, hail, or even a tornado through early Thursday morning. Areas further north, into parts of Georgia and South Carolina, were under a “high risk” of the dangerous storms.
In addition to a damaging wind risk, chances for an isolated tornado or large hail are highest near and north of the I-10 corridor from Tallahassee to Jacksonville between 4pm and 10pm this evening. Further south across the peninsula, the primary hazard is damaging wind. Although the storm system will be weakening as it moves further south overnight, the leading edge of a squall line could produce wind gusts up to 60 mph in some areas.
When the severe risk is highest:
- Panama City/Tallahassee areas: 4 pm to 10 pm
- Gainesville/Jacksonville areas: Midnight to 6 am
- Tampa/Orlando areas: 4 am to 10 am
- Fort Myers/Ft Pierce areas: 6 am to Noon
Much of South Florida will likely only see a brief downpour and gusty winds when the front moves through Thursday morning, and at this time the risk of severe weather is very low near Fort Myers and Miami.