The rest of the week and into the weekend’s weather forecast for the Panhandle has been summed up as “lots of rain,” by Tiffany Hersey, Deputy State Meteorologist for the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
“Upper level low persists over the Southern U.S. through next week,” wrote Hersey. “There’s a stalled surface front in North Florida that stirs up rain chances; there’s an approaching disturbance from Mississippi Valley that adds to the rainfall totals; tropical moisture brings more rain to the State; and moderate rip current risk for some Florida beaches.”
5-day Weather Forecast
Tuesday - Thursday:
Dry air across Central and South Florida will keep afternoon thunderstorms to a minimum on Tuesday. Forecasted rain chances are between 0 percent and 30 percent, with the greatest chances along the West Central Coast and spine of the Peninsula. However, the Florida Panhandle will have an active sea breeze day as thunderstorms are fired off by an approaching front. The current forecast in this region of Florida calls for 40-60 percent chance of rain this afternoon with the heaviest rain occurring in the Western Panhandle.
This leaves the Panhandle with a high threat for lightning and gusty winds in some of the stronger storms that develop. Overnight rain chances across much of the state will dwindle by 8pm, however in the Panhandle lingering showers will persist throughout the night. Especially near the coast where a 50 percent chance for rain overnight exists.
The rainy pattern that sets up across the Panhandle today will spread South and East bringing greater rain chances to the rest of the state on Wednesday and Thursday. The bulk of the heavy rain will remain in the Florida Panhandle due to the placement of an upper level low-pressure system, a stalling surface front, and approaching disturbance from the Midwest.
These three weather systems will create a very wet and rainy pattern for North Florida throughout the next five days. A chance for flooding of roads and low-lying areas is also possible today and through the remainder of the week in the Florida Panhandle due to consecutive days of heavy rain.
Wednesday’s rain chances are 60-70 percent in the Panhandle, 50 percent for the rest of North Florida, and 20-30 percent in Central and South Florida. On Thursday rain chances increase statewide due to the weather pattern mentioned above in North Florida and the approaching tropical moisture from the Caribbean.
Statewide rain chances are between 40 percent and 70 percent with the greatest chances in South, West Central, and North Florida. Overnight on Wednesday and Thursday showers and thunderstorms will diminish by midnight; however lingering showers are possible in the Panhandle on both nights.
Tuesday and Wednesday will produce partly sunny skies for much of the state through the mid afternoon. This will keep temperatures in the mid 90s inland and lower 90s along the coast with heat indices near 100-105. By Thursday temperatures will be more moderate due to mostly cloudy skies and rainy weather. Highs in the upper 80s are forecast in North and South Florida with low 90s in the Central part of the state. Overnight temperatures will be seasonal each night with lows in the mid 70s inland with upper 70s to near 80 degrees along the coast.
Friday and Saturdays forecast is a bit tricky and heavily dependent on how things progress in the Tropics. The current forecast calls for a rainy start to the weekend, especially in North Florida. The upper level low is forecast to remain over the Southern U.S. throughout the weekend. In addition a stalled surface front In North Florida will help provide added moisture and disturbed weather to this scenario, only to be enhanced by a surface low-pressure system forecast to form in the lower Mississippi Valley on Saturday. With all of these rain makers so close to Florida confidence in a very wet Friday and Saturday is high.
Current forecasts call for a 50-60 percent chance of rain statewide on Friday. Saturday these rain chances will drop to 40-50 percent along the East Central and Southeast Florida coasts, while the rest of the state remains at a 50-60 percent chance. Mostly cloudy to cloudy skies will dominate the state on both days moderating temperatures. Forecasted highs are in the upper 80s. Places that do receive little glimpses of sunlight may reach the low 90s.
Overnight showers will dwindle by midnight for much of the state. Friday night North Florida may see some lingering shower activity with 50-60 percent rain chances. Lows will be seasonable in the mid 70s inland with upper 70s to near 80 degrees along the coast.
Onshore winds will generate a moderate risk of rip currents exists for Panhandle Beaches from Escambia County through Gulf County. This rip current risk is expected to linger through Saturday. If the system in the Caribbean develops, the rip current risks could increase to high levels by Friday and Saturday. Otherwise, the remaining Florida beaches will see a low risk of rip currents for the next 5 days.
Anyone who plans to enter the water should check their local rip current forecast before going to their destination. Remember that the safest beaches are the ones protected by lifeguards. Daily surf zone and rip current forecasts for all Florida beaches.
Drought & Fire Weather:
Although rainfall is expected to be rather light today, the increase in rainfall expected across Florida over the next five days will keep fire weather concerns at low levels for the next 5 days. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the Panhandle received record rainfall for the month of July, while the remainder of the State saw above average rainfall.
This coincides with the Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service, which is showing that Florida’s rainy season has been extremely effective at diminishing the statewide rainfall deficit from the start of the water year (October). Despite the excessive rainfall, a few portions of the State are seeing rainfall deficits of up to eight inches.
This is why the long-term Palmer Drought Index values indicate that Florida is either near normal or slightly moist. As the rainy season continues, rainfall forecasts over the next 3 months indicate that drought conditions are not expected to develop at this time.
The National Hurricane Center has circled a broad tropical wave in the Central Caribbean with a 20 percent (low) chance for tropical development in the next 48 hours. The wave has a 30 percent (medium) chance for development in 3 to 5 days as the system moves into a more favorable environment. Model forecasts range greatly with this system.
The European model does not develop this system into much more than a weak wave, while the American and Canadian forecast models tend to strengthen it into a tropical system. Models seem to be trending towards a north-northeast track that would take this system into the gulf coast on Friday and Saturday.
The uncertainty in development and track are great since the system still remains weak and models have trouble forecasting weak tropical waves. Regardless of development or track Florida will still see plenty of rain over the upcoming days and the moisture associated with this system would only increase rainfall totals if it tracks closer to the Florida coast. Thus all interest in Florida should monitor the tropics this week.
Elsewhere in the tropics, another tropical wave is circled with a 10 percent (low) chance for development in the next 48 hours and a 20 percent (low) chance for development in days 3 to 5. This wave is tracking due west at 10 mph in an environment conducive for some development.