Wednesday Blog: Unusually Early Seabreeze Storms

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

For the second day in a row, we are monitoring short-term convective trends.

There are two triggers causing today's thunderstorms. The first is the Gulf coast seabreeze that is moving steadily northward. Scattered storms have developed primarily around and south of Interstate 10 between 3 and 5 PM. These storms could become a little more numerous between now and sunset because of outflow boundary collisions. Those living in Franklin, Wakulla, and Taylor counties should begin to see the storms diminish as the seabreeze moves away from these counties. The second trigger is a cold front stretched out from east to west from near Macon, GA to Montgomery, AL. Storms are igniting along the front and outflow boundaries from these storms could collide with a couple of outflows moving north from the Gulf coast seabreeze. As a result, thunderstorms will become more numerous in South Georgia between 6 and 9 PM, with a gradual weakening trend thereafter as the air slowly cools and stabilizes. Most of the storms will be below severe limits, but small hail and gusty winds are not at all out of the question with the strongest cells.

Scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast again on Thursday afternoon. The numerical models are in good agreement with regard to where these storms will form. The Super Microcast and WRF models forecast storm initiation after 2 PM along the Gulf coast seabreeze in Jefferson, Madison, Lafayette, Hamilton, and Suwannee counties, then becoming more widespread as the seabreeze moves into Georgia after 4 or 5 o'clock. The above-mentioned cold front will also contribute to storm formation and there will probably be outflow boundary clashes between the storms forming along the seabreeze and cold front since those two features will be so close together. The Atlantic coast seabreeze could potentially collide with the Gulf coast seabreeze somewhere in the Suwannee Valley or South-Central Georgia very late in the afternoon or more likely in the evening. As a result, the greatest storm concentration may be in the Live Oak, Valdosta, and Homerville areas. There will probably be storms farther west, too, but early indications are that those will be fewer in number.

The main event still looks to be on Saturday as a stronger cold front approaches from the west. The vertical shear is expected to be stronger in the presence of an increasingly unstable airmass. Thus, a more organized severe weather event -- including the potential of supercells -- will exist. As details of the storm mode and timing become more certain, we will post them here. Stay tuned.

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