A thick deck of stratus clouds covers much of the Southeastern United States this morning, but the air is much drier in the middle and upper troposphere. As the air heats near the ground, the drier air will gradually mix down toward the surface, providing us with sunshine by afternoon. A cold front is located near the Apalachicola River as of this writing. The winds shift to the northwest behind the front, where the dewpoints fall into the 40s and 50s in the western Florida Panhandle and southeastern Alabama. Southerly winds continue to pump lower 60s dewpoints into much of our area just ahead of the front, but a gradual easing of the humidity will occur later in the day. We will be in a quiet pattern Sunday through Monday, with morning lows averaging in the lower to mid 40s and highs topping out in the mid 70s.
The next Pacific system is showing up off the California coast and it will progress into the eastern United States on Tuesday. The numerical models are forecasting a strongly sheared environment as our area becomes favorably positioned with respect to the upper jet circulation. However, deep-layer moisture may be lacking since the flow will be more westerly than southerly. If thunderstorms can develop ahead of the cold front, then they will have the potential to be strong or severe. That said, the overall threat is too conditional at this time and we will wait for more clarity when later model runs become available. Even though the evolution of this system is not as clear as the last several, we can say that the highest probability of rain this week will be on Tuesday.
A much colder and drier airmass will arrive behind this front Wednesday through Friday. The longer range models seem to suggest that we'll finally catch a more extended break from this active pattern at the end of this week and next weekend.