3:45 PM UPDATE: Tornado watch continues, and we’ve been tracking the progression of the warm front, which has sparked a number of cells along and north of the line from Citrus to Volusia Counties. Currently, a line of storms has developed from southern Dixie County (Cross City area) to Lake City, and will continue to push northeastward toward Gilchrist and Alachua Counties within the next hour. These thunderstorms could intensify as they move onshore when they encounter some of the warmer air over land, eventually merging with instability along the I-75 corridor, potentially initiating strong storms in this region. Another area of interest is located on the opposite side of the state in Putnam and Flagler Counties, where a few stronger cells have developed along the warm front.
A TORNADO WATCH has been issued for much of North-Central Florida until 8pm. This post will be constantly updated all afternoon with the very latest.
WHEN: Today 2pm to 8pm
WHERE: Anywhere in the watch area, but concentrated mainly north of a Cedar Key-Gainesville-Palatka line (see attached Threat Tracker map)
THREATS: Hail up to quarter size, isolated tornadoes, minor wind damage
DISCUSSION: A warm front will be slowly lifting north through North-Central Florida, leading to some notable temperature contrasts this afternoon (low 80s in Marion County to lower 60s near I-10). As a disturbance moves out of the panhandle and interacts with this front, thunderstorms will become more numerous and stronger. Interactions with a sea breeze near both coasts could also result in stronger thunderstorm activity with some rotation and possible tornadoes. This will likely NOT be a widespread event, but the instability does warrant the alert and we’ve already had some damaging hail with earlier storms near Lake City.