Monday Weather Blog: Details on Upcoming Storm Potential

By: Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne Email
By: Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne Email

...Threat of wind damage and potentially a few strong/destructive tornadoes on Tuesday for areas near and west of the Apalachicola River in Florida and into parts of Southwest Georgia and Southeast Alabama...

...Strong storms possible over the remainder of the area with potential of isolated wind damage...

The midday surface analysis shows an strong area of departing high pressure east of the Carolinas and the developing low pressure near the Sabine River Valley of Texas and Louisiana. The pressure gradient between these two systems is generating strong southeasterly to southerly winds over the area today. Winds have been gusting to about 30 mph at times. Temperatures are expected to reach the lower 80s today to the east of Highway 319 where the wind flow from the cooler shelf waters of Apalachee Bay will be limited or delayed. Highs will be in the low to mid 70s near the coast and over the western parts of the Big Bend. A weak shortwave in the middle troposphere could set off a stray shower/sprinkle late this afternoon or evening as it moves across the area, but this is becoming more unlikely since our airmass is still dry and stable.

Aside from a renegade light shower or sprinkle, the weather should be quiet tonight as lows only dip into the lower 60s on the heels of those strong southerly winds. Water vapor imagery and upper air observations clearly depict the powerful deep-layer cyclone, which is presently situated over West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. The morning models resolved the mass fields quite well. Large-scale ascent and robust vertical wind shear ahead of the mid and upper-level trough will contribute to an eastward-moving squall line along the Central Gulf coast tonight. Present indications are that the line will reach the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee River areas by mid or late morning and possibly evolve into several lines and discrete storm cells. The lines could contain bowing structures capable of straight-line wind damage. Despite somewhat modest instability, strong to intense low-level wind shear will be more than adequate to support rotating updrafts (i.e. supercells) especially with individual cells ahead of the line. High-resolution model data (both WRF and Super Microcast) are forecasting this to occur in a corridor from roughly Panama City to the Marianna, Dothan, Blakely and Albany areas. These areas will have the highest potential of a strong/significant tornado or two between mid morning and mid afternoon. Areas farther east (primarily in North Florida) may be stabilized by the winds blowing from the cooler waters of Apalachee Bay. Therefore, the storms could be weaker in the Central and Eastern Big Bend, but the threat of isolated damaging winds is still possible. The stronger weather should arrive near the Highway 319 corridor around midday and the Eastern Big Bend and South-Central Georgia in the early afternoon.

Wednesday and Thursday should be more tranquil as a weak high pressure area builds nearby. However, the global models are now trending much stronger with the development of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico. Yesterday, it appeared that rain (if it occurred at all) would be over the Suwannee Valley. Now, that the storm could be stronger and track farther west, another shot of significant rain is increasing. If the models trend any farther west with the track of the low, then a threat of severe weather could become more likely. We will, of course, have more on this as we draw closer to that event.


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