Image shows an area of Moderate Risk of Severe Weather Today surrounded by a Slight Risk. Note the extensive cloud cover currently in place over the area that is expected to experience the most prominent zone of contention. Much of East Central Louisiana is also National Forest. Storms will be hard to spot by the naked eye due to either clouds and/or trees, combined with the fact that most of this activity will occur near and after sunset. "Lions, and Tigers, and Storms...Oh My". (Do they have apple throwing trees in the Kisatche National Forest?)
FLORIDA TODAY/RECAP: Much of Florida was cooler than was 'officially' forecast yesterday by a good 5-10F degrees; think we might have done a little better on the post yesterday in this regard. Today should be (and already is) much warmer. Overnight lows were realized along A1A in many locations between 8-10pm as expected would be the case, with some areas warming by 5-7F degrees by sunrise due to the weak easterly overall low level flow and advection of high dewpoint air into the coast. This also aided to create some patchy fog and smog around the "Ironhorse", where I-95 was closed once again in the same areas as the night before.
A1A highs in the low-mid 70s warming to upper 70s with some low 80s west of I-95 South Central and South Florida. Leaving out any showers east coast today although models are showing a few to come onshore. Best chance for rain today during daylight will be far SW Florida, although question the reflectivity return indicated on simulated radar of a thunderstorm down there. East winds most locations at times with a few more northerly component winds east portions of North Central early should all become ESE-SE by day's end. Gusts in the 20-25mph range in a few locations inland and SE Florida late morning through early evening.
Meanwhile, storm system gathers momentum and comes together from NE Texas, E Oklahoma, and points east and southeast into Arkansas, Mississippi, and all of Louisiana. The best chance of tornadic activity is over the 10% hatched area in Louisiana heading toward and after dark. Not looking good for late night "Fat Tuesday" parties in the Bayou Sate. Expect a large number of wind damage reports due to fallen trees across power lines and on to some structures, given that this area has already received some generous rainfall totals a few days ago and the soil is probably still a little unsupporting/saturated to hold trees with weak or rotted rooting, especially since additional rain will be falling in the same locations with the strongest wind gusts. That said, will also be watching for flash floods across much of Mississippi/Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas.
TOMORROW: Storm system will have lost a lot of its initial punch, but nonetheless will remain to pose some threats across Southern Alabama SW and West Central Georgia and the Florida Panhandle from Tallahassee west. Other areas to be watching are beyond the scope of today's post for a number of reasons. But one that stands out the most is that a lot of what occurs tomorrow will be an end result of what eventually transpires today and tonight which in all reality will not be known until it happens.
Outside of the area of concern, Central and South Florida will enjoy another warm and breezier day, with SE-SSE winds late in the 12-20mph range, gusts to 26mph. Overnight lows tonight along the East Coast in the mid-60s and cooler inland just a bit, with highs Wednesday in the upper 70s/low 80s, although A1A from Sebastian and north will likely only make it into the mid-70s. Maybe even some mid 80s on the west side of the state. Perhaps a spotty shower east side just about anywhere.
Better chance of showers toward late afternoon/early evening up and down Highway 27 west of Orlando. Some of these could break loose and head toward the east coast along and north of the Beachline, with an arrival there between 10pm-2am. Otherwise, another very mild overnight with increasing atmospheric moisture content throughout as the 'weather system' approaches from the WNW.
THURSDAY: Best chance of rain will have been ongoing since Wednesday in the Panhandle, spreading into most all portions of North Central by sunrise. Pre-frontal trough to cross East Central right around 1pm , then begin to lose identity over South Central. Cold front is several hours behind this feature. Best chance for some thunder will be from Ormond Beach to Vero Beach on the east side slanting SW toward the other coast to somewhere between Brooksville and just south of Sarasota on the west side. In other words, all of Central Florida. The Storm Prediction Center is watching this area for some "Strong Storms", but I don't see the potential quite yet, but it's tempting to make the claim. There is a subtle difference with this system from the last one (which left many folks dry).
The difference lies in its "attack mode" from the north. Upper level support will almost pass well to the north of the state before taken a second southward plunge late morning/early afternoon. Should this occur, wind fields aloft will strengthen as temperatures cool there as well, providing for some additional lift to the moist atmosphere. However, this will happen and be gone in the twinkling of an eye, so even if it does occur it'll have to do so in perfect sync with the placement of surface features, where-ever they may happen to be at the time. In other words, even if it does happen it could occur without notice other than for westerly winds to strengthen late afternoon after the rain has moved out. Guidance indicates the rain chances could last across Central Florida (south half) to South Florida until dark, but I'd guess that it will end much sooner across Central Florida. Rains are pretty much over everywhere by mid-evening (if not sooner).
Away from the system's direct effects, SE Florida will have a chance of showers by mid-afternoon through dark well before any storm related surface boundaries move into the area, with perhaps some thunder as well, most likely just offshore somewhere between West Palm and Ft. Lauderdale late afternoon. Front makes a clean pass of the entire state well before Friday's sunrise. Much drier and cooler air in the system's wake will make for some very pleasant early weekend weather. Could start out quite breezy from the west on Friday, but can iron that out as the time draws closer. Very cool mornings and an afternoon or two Friday and Saturday with a pretty quick rebound to near normal by the end of the weekend.