ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – We’ve had some active weather in recent weeks with powerful winter storm systems every 5-7 days. Each room is unique, but has a number of similar features.
Our latest threat will be based on a strong, high-level, high-pressure area that will sit above the Lower Mississippi River area on Thursday.
The low beam current will be active from the south-southwest for that layer. This brings a lot of deep moisture to our area. This setup will lead to more widespread rain, the threat of some heavy to severe thunderstorms, and very windy conditions that will cause extremely dangerous boating and beach conditions and possible coastal flooding on Friday.
Our latest storm system has dumped more than 10 cm of rain in many spots from Tampa Bay northwards and this system has similar potential as we will have rain starting Wednesday night.
Heavy rain showers are possible throughout the area on Thursday mornings. This will happen even before the mainline of strong thunderstorms continues. Here’s some uncertainty … the power of the thunderstorms. Are they serious? The reason for the uncertainty will actually be due to the rain that precedes the storm line.
If it rains long enough, it may be just enough to stabilize the lower atmosphere, limiting our chances of stronger or violent storms. If we get a break from the rain in the middle of the morning, combine that with the strong winds from the south at the surface, then that warm, humid air mass will pour into the storm line, resulting in stronger thunderstorms. Right now, it’s more like the more stable scenario, except perhaps south and east of Tampa Bay, where the chances of widespread rain in the morning are slightly lower.
It is something that we will look at very closely on Thursday morning.
Regardless of the great potential, we will be looking at widespread heavy rain totals between Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday. Most computer models generally agree with a widespread 2 to 4 inch situation, which would lead to flooding problems over already saturated soil.
The next danger comes from Thursday evening to Friday, when the wind increases from the west. The wind will be in the range of 25-35 mph during that time with gusts of more than 40 mph. Since the wind is from the west, there is a chance of some water rise, especially during the high tide on Friday. Areas near the coast that are prone to flooding can see a 1 to 2 foot water rise. In addition, those strong winds will make sailing very dangerous, so PLEASE DO NOT GO OUT ON THE BOAT!
Finally, after Friday, it will get colder and drier on weekends. But don’t worry … a Florida-style Christmas is in the works with sunshine and temperatures in the 1970s.