(Image: Atlas V Rocket Launch This Morning from KSC)
RECAP: Weather evolved pretty much as expected yesterday, with the strongest activity over Central Orange county this time rather than over Osceola County as it did on Thursday evening. Rain showers also dotted much of the landscape, even along the immediate coast, from Patrick AFB up to Jacksonville, with one lone thunderstorm SSW of West Palm Beach during the early evening. Maybe not quite as much coverage today, but locations will be pretty much be the same as yesterday with one or two good lightning producers in the offering later this afternoon most likely inland. Oddly, a brief waterspout was reported by a pilot offshore Key Biscayne within the past hour from a mere cloud line. The Miami radar is currently in 'clear air mode' which I find humorous. Talk about unexpected.
SYNOPSIS: Strong high pressure continues to push down the U.S. Eastern seaboard behind a frontal boundary whose southern most extent seems to have penetrated into east central portions of Georgia. Otherwise, disorganized area of low pressure persists along the N. Gulf Coast region, seemingly centered inland now near Clanton, Alabama or SSE of Montgomery. Over the state of Florida a weak bubble of high pressure was located right along the east coast of Central Florida near sunrise, but during the past 2-3 hours that seems to be retrograding west toward the Gulf. Aloft, mid-level winds are generally from the west at 10-15mph and PWATs are even lower than yesterday but still within a reasonable range for shower/storm development. In the upper levels winds are light easterly, and as a result some very high, thin patches of cirrus clouds are passing over way up there from off the Atlantic.
TODAY: The winds along the coast near Canaveral and PAFB were nearly calm initially, but have since sunrise picked up a bit from the west as the land-breeze finally began to small degree in this region right after sunrise. A sea-breeze might have already begun down by Miami which is what would have help produce the waterspout (perhaps). Believe the delayed land-breeze might have partially been due to a surface high over the region. Winds at around 8-9am finally have been felt from the west, but only ever so lightly. There is significantly less shower activity up in North Central portions of the state than at this same time yesterday, with the only precipitation near the state being over the Panhandle. None in the GOM or over the Atlantic waters. Mid-level winds are still from the west a bit weaker than yesterday, but those could very well veer to more of a WNW-NW direction by later today. Atmosphere not abundantly saturated, and warm mid-level temps (around 11C at 700mb and -5 at 500mb) not much different from yesterday.
Local WRF model guidance as well as the latest RUC are both indicating an earlier start to precipitation today along the immediate east coast, perhaps due to the fact that the sea breeze should start a little earlier with the slightly weaker west winds aloft; I'd guess onset would be between 11am-noon (if not sooner) rather than between 12pm-1pm. The earlier onset would jive with the slightly weaker westerlies directly overhead this morning. As such, showers could form anywhere from the Daytona region south to perhaps as far south as Melbourne east of I-95 between 1:15pm-2:15pm and creep in toward the coast, especially between the Space Center and Melbourne Beach. Further south showers might have a hard time reaching the coast or even forming for that matter due to even weaker westerlies aloft which might never actually overcome the sea breeze induced easterlies today at anytime (i.e., especially from Sebastian southward to Miami). As such, any activity to go up today south of somewhere between Melbourne Beach to Sebastian will likely remain west of US-1 or even I-95.
But in the more likely areas to see rain (north of Melbourne Beach) there could be several chances for a rain shower anytime from around 2pm - 7pm.
but lightning chances for this activity will likely be low-end. However, inland could be a different story where greater instability will be realized due to greater (prolonged) surface heating over the landmass. The west coast sea breeze might be a little slower at working across the state than the past two days, but eventually by 6pm it could reach east of Orlando. In should be noted that the past two days the west coast sea breeze progression has been very tricky and has pulled a few fast ones on us (mostly due to convective outflows from activity that went up along its leading edge).
But putting that possibility aside, activity should go up along and ahead of this boundary after 3pm, particularly from anywhere north of Central Osceola County to the Georgia border while any coastal activity that might have happened to form earlier will wane. Collapse of these stronger inland storms, particularly over Orange, Eastern Lake, Western Volusia and Seminole Counties could accelerate the west coast sea breeze toward the east very late in the afternoon into the early evening...particularly from Indian River County up toward Cocoa Beach. Some areas, particularly near Rte 60 in SE Osceola County north into SW Brevard where much of the area could have remained rain-free (and thus still more unstable) might see an early evening thunderstorm as well.
Another area of interest to monitor will be along the northeast through southeast shores of Lake Okeechobee where earlier sea breeze onset could work with the Lake Okeechobee lake breeze. Any ensuring collision down that way could give rise to a storm somewhere around Palm City to Green Acres, or over the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge...all areas west of I-95.
SUNDAY: The weak frontal boundary off the Georgia coast will work a little further south of the NE Florida Coast and diffuse as the ridge axis across South Florida breaks down a little with one portion retrograding further into the Gulf and eastern portion off the SE Florida coast. This will leave most of the peninsula in a very weak pressure pattern with perhaps a bit of a NNW-NNE flow aloft, albeit very weak. Therefore, expect most activity at this time to be limited to be sea/lake breeze collision driven over inland areas. But note, some numerical models are indicating better chances of rain tomorrow, but my thinking at this time is that those chances will come on Monday, if at all. One more reason for needing to make a blog post tomorrow I suppose.