April is usually a quiet month around Central Florida, but is usually very active in other parts of the country as we transition from winter to summer.
Spring from March to May is very active with severe weather in parts of the central and southern United States.
Occasionally, a powerful enough storm system can dig far enough south in April to hit the Florida peninsula. That’s what we’re looking at Friday.
This afternoon a storm system in a few different parts is developing well to the west. Some of it is located in the Southwestern US and another in the Upper Midwest. As the system develops in the Southwest and moves to the Northeast, it will send a cold stream of air south from South Canada and the Great Lakes.
But the air in the southern United States has become warm and humid, and that trend will continue Thursday and Friday. A strong cold front will develop on Friday, moving across the Gulf of Mexico and pushing a series of strong to severe storms to Florida.
The air for the cold front becomes very unstable. Our surface winds are increasing from the south, pumping in heat and high humidity. In combination with the cold air above the Northern Gulf, this will lead to a very unstable environment. This next image shows the available energy in the atmosphere to support strong thunder development. The yellow and orange color indicates an atmosphere prepared for the development of thunderstorms.
We are still determining the timing of the storm line for Friday as there is still a subtle disagreement between our reliable computer models, but we tend towards a mid to late afternoon scenario on Friday. This will create commuting problems for those working on Good Friday, as well as those going to the first Passover Seder on Friday evenings.
This next image shows the frequency of lightning along with the surface wind. We see strong south wind over West Central Florida with strong west to northwest winds in the Gulf behind the front. There will likely be a higher frequency of lightning when the storms first make landfall in the afternoon.
With a strong line of thunderstorms, heavy rainfall is also possible. Most computer models indicate a widespread 2.5 cm total across the area.
With all this said, there are still some nuances in the forecast for Friday. If the storm line is slowed down, we can develop a sea breeze that can reduce instability in coastal areas. That would reduce the strong to serious threat. Time differences for inland locations would again lead to the degree of potential instability ahead of the cold front. Finally, the greatest concern with the storm line will be the potential for strong noxious winds and a few isolated tornadoes.
We will refine the forecast details between now and Friday. Now is a good time to download the Spectrum Bay News 9 app to have Klystron9 and Saf T Net Friday alerts at your fingertips.