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Multiple rounds of thunderstorms, each capable of producing heavy rain in a short amount of time, could cause flash flooding in portions of the Florida Panhandle by midweek. A few thunderstorms may also be strong enough to produce hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes Wednesday and Thursday.

The setup

A cold front is expected to become better organized as it moves through the Tennessee Valley Tuesday, then stall across the Florida Panhandle Wednesday morning. Disturbances high in the atmosphere will travel along the front, producing several clusters of thunderstorms in an increasingly warm, humid, and unstable air mass near the Gulf of Mexico. The unsettled weather is likely to continue through Thursday, before the front weakens and moves across the Florida Peninsula Friday.

The timing

A few showers could develop as early as Tuesday afternoon across the Florida Panhandle, but the heavier and more widespread activity is likely to hold off until late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Additional rounds of thunderstorm activity are then expected Wednesday afternoon and night, before most of it moves a bit farther east into sections of Northeast Florida Thursday.

The severe potential

A few of the thunderstorms may produce hail, damaging gusts, or tornadoes, especially Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning near and west of Tallahassee. However, there is still some question as to how far inland the most unstable air from the Gulf of Mexico will move. If the heavy rain from Tuesday night and Wednesday morning cools the air mass too much, the chance of tornadoes and damaging winds would be lower Wednesday and Wednesday night. Conversely, if enough humidity and warm air from the Gulf is able to return north, the risk of stronger thunderstorm activity would be greater.

Rainfall amounts

The latest blend of computer model simulations are forecasting anywhere from 1.5 inches of rain in the Tallahassee area to nearly 3 inches near Crestview, Pensacola, and Destin. These amounts reflect area-wide averages, but thunderstorms are almost sure to contribute heavier amounts in some areas. A “worst case” situation – rendered by an ensemble of computer models that create many possible scenarios to meteorologists — are indicating the potential for up to about 5 inches of rain in these areas. This scenario can become more probable where thunderstorms “train” or move over the same areas.

Flood potential

Rainfall totals over the past 30 days in the Florida Panhandle have been running slightly below average for areas south of Interstate 10. However, areas along and north of I-10 have had more rain than usual and may be more susceptible to flash flooding. There is also a chance the Escambia River, which was experiencing minor flooding near Century for a time in February, could return to minor flood stage again if heavy rain falls in its watershed.

Strong thunderstorms or widespread amounts of heavy rain are not expected across central and south Florida from this storm system at this time.

A line of thunderstorms capable of producing damaging wind gusts is expected to barrel through Central Florida Wednesday afternoon.

A humid air mass is in place and an approaching disturbance from the Gulf of Mexico is likely to cause showers and thunderstorms to develop as soon as mid-afternoon Wednesday. High-resolution model simulations are forecasting a small cluster of storms to form between Orlando and Ocala after 1 o’clock. These storms would likely move toward Volusia and Brevard counties by afternoon drive time. Damaging gusts and perhaps an isolated tornado may accompany these thunderstorms if they form as the models are indicating.

An approaching cold front from the Gulf of Mexico is expected to initiate a separate line of thunderstorms this afternoon. The line is forecast to approach the Tampa/St Pete Metro area and the Nature Coast between 2 and 5 PM, and sweep eastward into the Orlando area between 5 and 7 PM. The line should extend as far south as Ft Myers and Port Charlotte between 7 and 10 PM. Strong winds through a deep layer of the atmosphere are supportive of damaging gusts in places along the line. A brief, isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

The approaching front and warm, humid air may cause additional thunderstorms to form in Southeast Florida between the Treasure Coast and the Gold Coast, and as far south as the Keys, mostly after 7 PM. A few of these storms may also become strong, but a loss of daytime heating may limit the number of wind damage reports in these areas before the storms move off the coast shortly after midnight.

Noticeably colder air will surge into the state Thursday behind the front on the heels of gusty northwest winds.

Counties: Gilchrist County in northern Florida, Southwestern Alachua County in northern Florida,

Cities: Trenton, Bell, Archer and Newberry Florida

Potential impacts: Expect damage to roofs, siding, and trees.

Suggested action(s): A Tornado Watch remains in effect until midnight EST for northern Florida. For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

Summary: At 855 PM EST, a severe thunderstorm was located 7 miles northwest of Trenton, moving east at 35 mph.


This alert expires February 6, 2020 at 9:45 PM EST

Counties: Northern Gilchrist County in northern Florida, Northwestern Alachua County in northern Florida, Western Baker County in northeastern Florida, Western Union County in northern Florida, Columbia County in northern Florida, Eastern Suwannee County in northern Florida, Eastern Hamilton County in northern Florida,

Cities: Lake City, White Springs, Bell, Ichetucknee Spring, Columbia, Taylor, High Springs, Fort White, Palestine Community and Providence Florida

Potential impacts: Expect damage to roofs, siding, and trees.

Suggested action(s): A Tornado Watch remains in effect until midnight EST for northern and northeastern Florida...and southeastern Georgia. For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building. Torrential rainfall is occurring with these storms, and may lead to flash flooding. Do not drive your vehicle through flooded roadways.

Summary: At 841 PM EST, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from 8 miles southwest of Needmore to 10 miles south of Obrien, moving east at 40 mph.


This alert expires February 6, 2020 at 9:30 PM EST

Counties: Levy County in northern Florida,

Cities: Chiefland, Bronson, East Bronson, Fowlers Bluff, Andrews, Manattee Road, Williston Highlands, Inglis, Fanning Springs, Otter Creek, Lebanon and Manatee Springs State Park Florida

Potential impacts: Expect damage to roofs, siding, and trees.

Suggested action(s): A Tornado Watch remains in effect until midnight EST for northern and west central Florida. Remain alert for a possible tornado! Tornadoes can develop quickly from severe thunderstorms. If you spot a tornado go at once into a small central room in a sturdy structure. For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

Summary: At 831 PM EST, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from near Cross City to 59 miles west of Hudson, moving east at 35 mph.


This alert expires February 6, 2020 at 9:30 PM EST

A Tornado Watch has been issued for all of north and northeast Florida until midnight. The watch includes the cities of Jacksonville, Gainesville, Ocala, and the Nature Coast.

As of 7 pm ET, radar data indicated a squall line of thunderstorms capable of producing damaging straight-line winds or a tornado was moving through Florida’s Big Bend. Several accounts of wind damage have been reported from this line in and around the Tallahassee area and points farther west.

The squall line is expected to maintain its strength, or even intensify some as it moves farther east, thanks to strong winds aloft and an unstable mass developing ahead of it. The Storm Prediction Center says there is a enhanced risk of damaging winds up to 70 mph and a few tornadoes with the line.

The most likely arrival times of the squall line in the watch area are listed below. Keep in mind that the greatest wind damage potential is usually a few miles ahead of the reflectivity you may see on radar.

In addition to the wind damage potential, rainfall totals between 1 and 2 inches may cause brief periods of localized flooding where some of the strongest cells track. The heaviest rain is expected to exit the Florida Panhandle by midnight, with clearing skies and cooler conditions expected on Friday.

Counties: Wakulla County in Big Bend of Florida, Eastern Gadsden County in Big Bend of Florida, Southeastern Liberty County in Big Bend of Florida, Northwestern Jefferson County in Big Bend of Florida, Leon County in Big Bend of Florida, Franklin County in Big Bend of Florida, Southeastern Decatur County in southwestern Georgia, Southern Grady County in southwestern Georgia, Southwestern Thomas County in south central Georgia,

Cities: Carrabelle, Eastpoint, Apalachicola, Thomasville, Tallahassee, Havana, St Marks, Midway, Woodville, Crawfordville, St George Island, Quincy, Florida State University, Tallahassee Comm College, Doak Campbell Stadium, Florida A And M, Wakulla, Franklin, Sopchoppy and Lake Bradford Florida

Potential impacts: Expect considerable tree damage. Damage is likely to mobile homes, roofs, and outbuildings.

Suggested action(s): A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 800 PM EST for Big Bend of Florida...and south central and southwestern Georgia. A Tornado Watch remains in effect for the warned area. Tornadoes can develop quickly from severe thunderstorms. Although a tornado is not immediately likely, if one is spotted, act quickly and move to a place of safety inside a sturdy structure such as a basement or small interior room.

Summary: At 446 PM EST, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from near Whigham to 16 miles southwest of St George Island, moving east at 30 mph.


This alert expires February 6, 2020 at 6:00 PM EST

Counties: Southeastern Jackson County in the Panhandle of Florida, Gulf County in the Panhandle of Florida, Eastern Calhoun County in the Panhandle of Florida, Northwestern Wakulla County in Big Bend of Florida, Gadsden County in Big Bend of Florida, Liberty County in Big Bend of Florida, Southwestern Leon County in Big Bend of Florida, Franklin County in Big Bend of Florida, Southern Decatur County in southwestern Georgia, Southwestern Grady County in southwestern Georgia, Southeastern Seminole County in southwestern Georgia,

Cities: Eastpoint, Apalachicola, Quincy, Blountstown, Havana, Midway, St George Island, Port St Joe, Stonemill Creek, Chattahoochee, Greensboro, Orange, Franklin, Wewahitchka, Sneads, Gretna, Bristol, Attapulgus, Rock Bluff and Honeyville Florida

Potential impacts: Expect damage to roofs, siding, and trees.

Suggested action(s): A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 800 PM EST/700 PM CST/ for Big Bend of and the Panhandle of Florida...and southwestern Georgia. Remain alert for a possible tornado! Tornadoes can develop quickly from severe thunderstorms. If you spot a tornado go at once into the basement or small central room in a sturdy structure.

Summary: At 401 PM EST/301 PM CST/, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from 9 miles west of Greensboro to 25 miles south of Port St. Joe, moving northeast at 60 mph.


This alert expires February 6, 2020 at 5:00 PM EST

A Tornado Watch is in effect until 8 PM ET (7 PM CT) for much of the Big Bend and parts of the Florida Panhandle. The watch includes Tallahassee, Panama City, Marianna, Apalachicola, and Lake City.

A line of strong thunderstorms was noted to be getting better organized in the Florida Panhandle early Thursday afternoon, and it was beginning to approach Panama City just before 1 pm.

The squall line is expected to intensify as it moves east through the watch area, thanks to strong winds throughout all layers of the atmosphere and an unstable mass is developing ahead of it. The Storm Prediction Center says there is a enhanced risk of damaging winds up to 75 mph and a few tornadoes with the line.

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The most likely arrival times of the squall line in the advised area are listed below. Keep in mind that the greatest wind damage potential is usually a few miles ahead of the reflectivity you may see on radar.

In addition to the wind damage potential, rainfall totals between 1 and 2.5 inches may cause pockets of flash flooding where some of the strongest cells track. The heaviest rain is expected to exit the Florida Panhandle by midnight, with clearing skies and cooler conditions expected on Friday.

Counties: South Walton County in the Panhandle of Florida,

Cities: Santa Rosa Beach, Eglin Air Force Base, Inlet Beach, Villa Tasso, Port Washington, Blue Mountain Beach, Seaside, Miramar Beach, Gulf Pines, Bunker, Grayton Beach, Seagrove Beach, Sandestin and Four Mile Village Florida

Potential impacts: Expect considerable tree damage. Damage is likely to mobile homes, roofs, and outbuildings.

Suggested action(s): A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 700 PM CST for the Panhandle of Florida. Remain alert for a possible tornado! Tornadoes can develop quickly from severe thunderstorms. If you spot a tornado go at once into the basement or small central room in a sturdy structure.

Summary: At 1129 AM CST, a severe thunderstorm was located 7 miles southeast of Destin, moving northeast at 60 mph.


This alert expires February 6, 2020 at 12:00 PM CST

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(352) 392-5551

UF Media Properties

1885 Stadium Road

PO Box 118400

Gainesville, FL 32611

 

(352) 392-5551

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