"But seeing they could not See; hearing they could not Hear"
“The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Weather Service or affiliate/related organizations. Please consult .gov sites for official information”

"From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds." - Job 37:9.

"The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course".

Friday, February 5, 2010

Menacing Mid-Atlantic Mid-Winter Menace

(Image: radar as of 12:55pm EST)

As mentioned earlier, there would likely be a blog update posted. For the most part, surprisingly, one is really not needed. So this will be brief. If you haven't heard by now, the areas around the nation's capitol is in for 1-2 FEET of snow, and the store shelves have rapidly emptied in preparations. Turn into the news or can't miss but hearing about it.
Locally, the only feature that stands out in my mind at this time is that the surface winds across all of Central Florida are remaining backed and are not veering toward the SW just ahead of approaching line of storms. Winds just off the deck are increasing as well. Noticed a gust of 40 mph out of due south last hour at Clearwater just ahead of the line. Therefore, expect even stronger than anticipated low level helicities stronger than previously thought. If we had good (meaning very unstable) thermodynamics across the area today we'd probably be in a tornado watch right now. But such is not the case...therefore, no changes to previous thinking. Timing even remains pretty much on cue. Our main threat will be strong wind gusts if one happens to encounter a storm. Remember, just because the threat is real does not mean it will happen right where you live. One can experience very little other than some rain, whereas just a few miles away all hell could be breakig lose.
The lower cloud deck moved right on in is as expected, and such will be the case sky wise for the rest of the day. Some rain showers are popping up across Central Florida to the south which are rapidly moving off to the ENE...but it appears those will remain south of the immediate area, but S. Osceola County, S. Brevard, and Indian River Counties will probably get a sampling of this activity.

Otherwise, still expecting the worst of the weather to be approaching-- if not occurring-- between 5-7pm across most of East Central Florida. The Orlando area of course will be in 'it' 1- 1 1/2 hours sooner.

Anyone with at least a little common sense might want to tune into Channel 13 or 9...or The Weather Channel if you don't have a S.A.M.E. Alert'able' Weather Radio to keep abreast of the latest...particularly after things could get pretty active in these parts by late afternoon. It's worth noting though, on the brighter side, that little to no lightning activity is being detected at this time that will impact Central Florida in the very near term. Most of the lightning is heading to the West Coast south of Sarasota. This area though needs to be monitored as it might be just what kicks things into high gear as it moves just north of due east. Hence, for the more immediate area, it might be the south 1/2 of Osceola and Brevard Counties (and points further south)...that experience the meanest punch later today. But like I mentioned, if things start to look nasty the local channels will likely be covering the event live as things unfold.

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Possible Thunder and Strong Storms - Blog Update Likely To Be Required

(Images show radar as of 8:40am and concurrent satellite IR imagery).

We're pretty much on track today with yesterday's discussion, with some differences which will be noted below. The main differences are the timing on the arrival of rain/storms and their intensity.

TODAY: Cloudy skies this morning with a few peaks of sun now and then will yield to a mid-low level overcast between 11am-noon time. This will limit the amount of heating we receive this afternoon, thus preempting our chances of reaching 80 degrees...but mid-upper 70s isn't bad.

The wind will be gusting at times in the 20-30mph range, mainly across open areas such as on the beach or along the rivers. But it will be a warm, energy filled wind that will lift our spirits (and kites). Other than a few very light sprinkles, we should remain rain free on the east side of the peninsula until at least 2:30pm. Folks west and north of I-4 (more precisely, the Panhandle)are already seeing the rain moving in. The Tampa area will start to get rain/storms a good 3-5 hours before the immediate east coast does. The Orlando area of course falls somewhere in between the two.

TIMING AND INTENSITY: First intensity - As noted above, the main differences from yesterday's discussion are in both timing and intensity of this system, but not by much. It's been stated for days now that some of the storm activity with this system could be on the strong side, mainly from winds. This train of thought has not changed at all. The change is that it looks more likely to occur rather than less likely. Both the NAM and GFS models support the notion of moderate to strong speed maxes to cross the central Florida Peninsula beginning the early afternoon and favorable divergence at the jet stream level (approx. 30,000 ft.) will enhance lift. BUT, thermodynamically speaking, and as was also briefly mentioned yesterday, it's not looking so great for severe weather. There is some warm air over running us just overhead (what we need is colder air aloft to add to atmospheric "lift"..and hence convection --thunderstorms.).

In fact, SPC (the Storm Prediction Center out of Norman, Oklahoma) has placed most of peninsular Florida in a "slight risk" for severe thunderstorms, due to winds (no hail)...and even alludes to a low end chance of isolated tornadoes. All of the NWS offices are in general consensus...and in this case I'm not one to go out on the 'disagreement' limb for now.

Believe the leading edge of those lower clouds shown on the satellite depiction is caused by the over running warm air. They are steadily approaching like a rentless troop of soldiers on attack...and will be in the area by noon time. Regardless, the wind (speed and shear) can't be ignored and therefore I'm riding with what our official resources are seeing...that being that some strong storms (winds in those storms) are a real possibility...possibly in excess of 58mph in gusts with the strongest of storms (should you happen to be impacted by one).

Now Timing - here's where it gets even trickier. The GFS and NAM are a full 6 hours apart as to when the worst of weather will move in, with the GFS being the faster. The GFS has been consistently too fast all this winter with these I'm not buying fully into that. On the other hand, based on latest satellite/radar loops..the NAM looks to slow!...Gads. So if we essentially take an average between the two..what it amounts to is for points east of on the look out for rain/storms to start to impact the area in the 4-8pm time frame. This is a big window considering how close the system is now. Perhaps the next model runs will shed more light. At this time, they are not yet available. This post is more of a HEADS UP but don't run for cover just yet 'blogging'....just to get the information out there well ahead of time.
Overnight Saturday-Tuesday: The worst will be over by sunrise as the rain will have ended and skies clear. Nothing has changed at all for this time period from yesterday's post. The high on Saturday will likely be within 1-2 hours of sunrise. Level off, then likely start to drop by mid-late afternoon ending up in the upper 40s along the coast and low to mid 40s west of the Banana River. Cool through Monday...then gradually moderating temperatures. Too much going on now (today) for indepth elaboration which will need refinement with time anyway. Let's just get through today/tonight...and horrors upon horrors..Sunday. Hey...where'd I stock the hot chocolate?

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