The long awaited rainfall finally made an appearance last night around 10pm in Cape Canaveral...although light at this location (0.15") it was much welcomed. Not to short change the Orlando area though, where up to 3.50" was reported late yesterday into the evening.
Recap: The pattern shift which occurred last night is clearly evident when reviewing surface observations from Patrick AFB (PAFB). The wind went from the predominant ESE-SE of days past ..and suddenly went calm around 9pm..then shifted to westerly and was a bit gusty as the rain started. Apparently some thunder was heard further south as close as Patrick AFB where radar indicated heavier precipitation down that way but none was heard here.
Synoptically speaking: The ridge axis that had dominated our weather for so long, as was anticipated, has eroded well enough away with its western extent now off the extreme SE coast of the state. Likewise, the TUTT low has dropped to apparently just south of Cuba but is barely discernible. So what does this mean for today now that those inhibiting factors (for deep convection) are out of the way?
ANALYSIS: Morning sounding does indeed show a very moist atmosphere with PWATs around 2.0"(which is visually apparent with the mostly overcast sky condition) and a light SW flow just above the surface well up into the atmosphere. Radar shows a swath of very light rain extending across the Central Peninsula as well which is slowing working east and south into North Brevard. 500mb temperatures have dropped a few degrees (a reflection of the upper level trough) while the 700mb temperatures are holding near steady. Surface low pressure is in the extreme NE GOM south of the Big Bend in association with a somewhat diffuse boundary stretched all along the northern Gulf and across North/Central Florida. This low will move away from the state though and won't be a factor locally. It is worth noting that the GFS model wasn't entirely incorrect at developing a surface low somewhat close to this area as it did many many days ago. Not bad.
TODAY: It appears the surface boundary will sink to right across Central Florida this afternoon and perhaps toward the Big Lake region after sunset as high pressure strengthens into the mid-Atlantic region...but just above the surface the boundary will remain further north across the immediate central portion of the state through Saturday.
With all this said one might think that today could be a rainy day with plentiful storms, but I'm not ENTIRELY convinced. Believe extensive cloud cover in association with the mid-level trough will not only keep afternoon high temperatures down but also make it a little difficult for the atmosphere to destabilize sufficiently for robust thunderstorm activity...at least through mid-afternoon. I don't have a doubt some areas will receive some respectable rainfall and perhaps hear some thunder...particularly further south in Okeechobee and St. Lucie Counties, but current implications are not very impressive in the thunder department along the coast further north of those counties unless the clouds can break up sufficiently. But we'll take what we can get...which should be at least some spurious periods of light to moderate rain at just about any time in the next 24 hours.
It should be noted though that what steering currents there are (from the SW toward Lake Okeechobee) are originating downstream in an area that will receive sufficient heating for storm development. Should this occur, then storms could develop in that area and roll northeast toward the immediate coasts of Brevard and Indian River counties late in the day. The same reasoning goes for the inland areas...although that area will also have at least a little low level convergence to abet in storm development by late afternoon induced by lake breezes which would make thunder there a plausible prospect.
This isn't far from the reasoning proposed a few days ago when it was mentioned that we'd eventually have abundant moisture around, that we'd be hearing high chances of rainfall through media outlets, but which might only manifest itself in reality as extensive cloudiness. There is a chance that someone in Central Florida will eventually receive another good dousing today...but those areas will be of the select lucky few. My biggest hope is that I'm completely wrong and we'll get to see more active weather, per se...but for now...holding fast to this 'gut feeling' forecast.