Gator fans heading west will feel the effects of a fall cold front first. We will likely have to wait until Monday to experience any relief from the heat and humidity here in Gainesville. The trip to College Station to see Florida play Texas A&M on Friday will likely be rain-free…that is, if you leave by mid-morning. Thunderstorms will become numerous here in the Sunshine State by midday. It also could be a bit stormy on the drive home Sunday, especially when motorists reach the Florida panhandle. Temperatures on Friday ahead of the front across the deep South and in College Station will be pushing 100. The front’s arrival Saturday will stir up a stiff north breeze and cool things down into the upper 80s. There is a very small chance for a brief shower midday on Saturday as the front passes, but the overall feel to the air will be much drier by late in the day. Sunday morning’s lows in eastern Texas will dip into the 60s for the first time in months, and this cooler air mass will follow our fans back home to greet North-Central Floridians on Monday and Tuesday.
Tropical Depression 18 became Tropical Storm Sandy late Monday afternoon and was located approximately 900 miles south of Miami, Florida. The upper-level environment is conducive for strengthening and water temperatures are still plenty warm, leading to higher than normal confidence that Sandy will strengthen over the next 48 hours. Some of the model guidance even suggests Sandy could strengthen rapidly at times before nearing Jamaica on Wednesday. Hurricane hunter aircraft is scheduled to fly into the storm this evening and the data can be viewed live on WRUF-TV6.
Tropical Storm Sandy is forecast to move to the north or north-northeast after development, likely crossing or moving in between the islands of Jamaica, Cuba, and Hispaniola mid-week. The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center is for [Sandy] to be a strong tropical storm or possibly a weak hurricane as it nears the island of Jamaica late on Wednesday. High pressure is expected to briefly build over the storm and possibly cause it slow as it approaches the Bahamas later in the week. Thereafter, forecast confidence is severely lacking due to the different model solutions on how strong a trough of low pressure and cold front will be over the U.S. mid-section. The track and strength of [Sandy] prior to the point when this trough begins to affect the storm will play a big role in determining the eventual track and potential influences on the state of Florida.
HISTORY OF STORMS RELATED TO SANDY
It may not feel very tropical anymore in Florida, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see tropical weather. The 2012 Hurricane Season doesn’t officially end until November 31st, but history tells us that late-season storms can and have hit the state. This is especially true when they form in the Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico.
We looked at the history of storms hitting Florida during the period of October 20 – November 10 since 1900 and found that the majority of tracks came out of the Caribbean or the Gulf rather than from the Atlantic. Of the 14 storms plotted, four originated in the Gulf and six formed in the western Caribbean. The latter location is very close to where our next Tropical Storm is likely to form. Gladys was the most-recent hurricane to cross the state from the Caribbean during this 20-day period, making landfall on the Nature Coast south of Cedar Key in 1968. Tropical Storm Gordon, however, may be fresher in Floridian’s minds, following a very erratic path and making landfall twice in 1994.
THE BOTTOM LINE
While it may be too early to talk specifics on soon-to-be Sandy, it’s never too early for Floridians to prepare for a potential landfall of a tropical cyclone. To that end, it’s also never too late in the season to come up with a plan and stock up on supplies. Tropical Updates are always available on WRUF-TV6 at 20 minutes past the hour. We’re also on the radio, delivering a complete tropical update every day at 4:50pm on Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM. Follow @gatorweather on Twitter for breaking weather information any time of day.
In this political season of swaying polls and spirited debates, there’s something more than just partisan pundits spinning out there. This candidate pays no attention to “no-spin” zones and might just play “hard ball” with the swing state of Florida. Welcome to the stage, Tropical Storm Sandy. Who is she up against? The incumbent and persistent trough of low pressure near the U.S. East Coast.
The Incumbent’s Record
Nearly all of the tropical cyclones that have formed since September 1st have been steered clear of the U.S., mostly due to the increased wind shear that accompanied this quasi-permanent dip in the jet stream. In recent days, however, the upper-level winds have shifted to the north, making parts of the mainland vulnerable to a land-falling system should one form close to home. Tropical Storm Sandy formed in the Western Caribbean late on Monday and is quickly strengthening, likely to become a hurricane within the next 48 hours.
History tells us that storms forming in this part of the world during this time of year are most-likely to move in a north or northeastward direction. In fact, nearly all of the Sandy analogs moved near or just east of the State of Florida. Six crossed the peninsula, and four of the remaining six moved over the Bahamas. This fact alone, though, does not give Sandy a mandate to run on. Instead, we have to look at the challenger’s plan, or most-likely path.
The Challenger’s Path
Sandy will be looking for a weakness in the opponent’s shield to gain some ground pole-ward. This shield is a large ridge of high pressure that is currently parked over the Mid-Atlantic States, extending down into parts of Florida. Until this is booted, Sandy will likely remain stationary or only slowly drift north. A jab at the ridge is expected to be delivered by an approaching cold front Wednesday. When this happens, Sandy will likely accelerate northward and cross the islands of Jamaica and Cuba, nearing The Bahamas by week’s end.
When Sandy emerges back over the water from Cuba, the conflict between her and a reinforcing East Coast trough will escalate the competition. The question is, will the new frontal system be strong enough to push Sandy out to sea? Or rather, will Sandy be stronger and able to move right up the East Coast largely unimpeded? If the latter scenario plays out, Florida’s Atlantic Coast could be more directly impacted with tropical storm conditions.
We are at least five days removed from any significant influences of Tropical Storm Sandy on our state’s beaches or nation’s coastline. Recent data suggests Sandy will struggle to maintain strength over The Bahamas and likely be steered out to sea by a new cold front and trough of lower pressure. Even though chances for direct impacts from Sandy in North-Central Florida are low, we could say they are still within the “margin of error” given our known limitations of long-range forecasting of tropical cyclones.
Do Your Own Fact-Checking
Here’s how to stay informed of the very latest on Tropical Storm Sandy:
- Visit our Tracking the Tropics page for up-to-date storm info.
- Follow @GatorWeather on Twitter for breaking weather alerts.
- Watch WRUF-TV6 for your complete Tropical Weather Update at 20 past the hour.
Latest Tropical Update Video
Sandy is barely still at hurricane strength, but the storm has nearly doubled in size. Tropical Storm force winds now extend over 275 miles from the center. Sandy is unraveling a bit, thanks to an upper-level area of lower pressure creating some wind shear on the southwest side. The is evident on the satellite and radar representation, as most of Sandy’s thunderstorm activity is now displaced from the center of circulation to the north and northeast. As of Friday evening, those rain bands were rotating around the center of circulation and starting to approach Florida’s First Coast. As this process continues, Sandy will gradually become a hybrid storm later tonight, taking on both tropical and non-tropical characteristics. The hurricane has slowed in forward speed to less than 10 mph and has now turned more to the northeast. This means Sandy will now start moving further away from North-Central Florida.…Scroll down for all videos related to this story…
Tropical Storm Warnings are continue for coastal waters from the Florida-Georgia border to Daytona Beach. Inland Lake Wind Advisories have been extended until 7pm Saturday.
Sandy is transitioning to a hybrid storm tonight, meaning that the rain and wind fields will likely continue to expand northward and northwestward. Even though Sandy’s center will likely stay well off-shore, the east coast of Florida will still sustain significant impacts. Rainfall along the coast could top 2-3″ south of Melbourne, and tropical-storm force wind gusts are possible anywhere along the coast Friday and Saturday. Inland, rain impacts will likely be minimal, but windy conditions should be expected through Saturday evening. Sandy should be pulled by an upper-level trough to the northeast sometime on Saturday, at which time conditions will be quickly improving both along the coast and for inland North-Central Florida.
Recent model trends suggest that Sandy, likely a strong subtropical storm off the Mid-Atlantic states by Saturday, will also be pulled northwestward into New England on Sunday and Monday. The potential impacts from a landfalling storm of this magnitude, at this time of year, are significant. We will be posting more on this in future updates, especially as the situation becomes more clear.
LATEST VIDEOSPotential Impacts from Sandy in N-Central Florida
TRACK WITH US
Use the following resources to track the storm with us. Whether you’re watching TV, listening on the radio, pulling us up on-line, or on the go with your phone – WRUF weather is always tracking the tropics.
The 2013 Hurricane Season has come and gone, but if you weren’t paying attention, you might not have noticed. What was predicted to be a well-above average season, with potentially devastating impacts on the east coast of the U.S., turned out to be just a footnote for the record books, with the lowest number of named storms since 1982.
Early forecasts from reputable forecasters called for an above average or even a “hyperactive” season, citing sea surface temperatures well above average in parts of the Atlantic as the reason for the forecast. NOAA released its official prediction on May 23, forecasting up to 19 named storms, 6-9 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes. This compares to an average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. NOAA’s predictions were mirrored in scope by those of other major meteorological organizations, including the UK Meteorological office, Colorado State University and Florida State University. In addition to above average sea surface temperatures, the low probability of an El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean was also cited as cause for concern. Colorado State’s Atmospheric Sciences Department gave the entire U.S. coastline a 72% chance of being hit by a major hurricane, compared to an average of just 52%.
Several factors contributed to a dismal hurricane season in the Atlantic. Authorities from NOAA noted that a prevalence of dry, sinking air, coupled with strong vertical wind shear throughout the Atlantic basin hindered the development of tropical storms for much of the season. Dry stable air also remained dominant over the coast of West Africa, where many storms form.
In all, the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season produced 13 named storms, of which only two, Humberto and Ingrid, achieved hurricane status. Both storms peaked at category one strength with winds under 95 mph.
Only one storm, Tropical Storm Andrea, made landfall in the continental United States. WRUF Weather tracked it as it quickly advanced toward the Nature Coast in early June, then made its way across the peninsula and into Georgia. The storm produced heavy rainfall, flooding and tornadoes across our state on the first week of the season. The remaining 25 weeks of the season were eerily quiet. As WUFT News’s Courtney McKenna points out in her recent story, emergency officials tell us the quiet season is not necessarily a good thing, especially from a pubic awareness standpoint.
An area of low pressure is forecast to strengthen rapidly as it comes ashore in the panhandle Tuesday and moves up the east coast Wednesday. Warm, humid air will surge northward ahead of the storm Tuesday, setting the stage for a round or two of strong thunderstorms as the air masses collide along a cold front Tuesday night. This early winter storm will also impact millions of travellers who may be heading north for the holiday on Wednesday, followed by the season’s first freeze in parts of Florida Thanksgiving morning.
- Wind damage is the primary concern with a squall line Tuesday night.
- Isolated tornadoes are possible near the Gulf coast Tuesday evening
- Heaviest rainfall (2 to 3 inches) most-likely in the panhandle and big bend region
IMPACTS TO FLORIDA
TUESDAY: A warm front will be lifting north throughout the day, likely making it to the Florida-Georgia border by late afternoon. Numerous showers and a few thunderstorms will be developing along this boundary, especially later in the day and north of the I-4 corridor. Widespread severe weather is not anticipated, but a few isolated cells capable of wind damage or small hail will be possible. A steadier, heavier rain is likely in the panhandle for most of the day as the low pressure comes ashore.
TUESDAY NIGHT: A squall line of sorts with heavy rain, some thunder, and possible severe weather is expected to sweep across the entire peninsula Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. Strong upper-level winds will send the squall line quickly to the east, at times producing some wind damage and isolated tornadoes. The greatest chances for severe weather is closer to the Gulf Coast, from Apalachicola to Sarasota, and primarily during the evening hours. The threat diminishes gradually overnight as the front pushes inland, but isolated wind damage is still possible with this system all the way to the Atlantic coast in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday.
WEDNESDAY: Drier weather will quickly replace the departing storm in Florida by midday Wednesday. Strong north winds and falling temperatures, however, will likely continue through Wednesday night. Gale conditions are expected along both coastlines of north Florida, with at least Small Craft Advisory winds likely along all other nearshore waters.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY: The season’s first freeze is possible for many inland areas Thursday morning. Temperatures (at this time) are projected to fall to near the freezing mark in cities like Gainesville and Jacksonville, with upper 20s possible in the Suwannee River Valley and points west through the panhandle such as Tallahassee and Pensacola. This freeze will be an advection freeze, meaning it is driven primarily by the wind and therefore, a frost is not expected. However, a hard freeze is possible in many inland areas of the panhandle and near the Georgia border where the continuous north wind will keep temperatures below freezing for several hours. Wind chills will also be a factor across most of the state on Thanksgiving Day morning, falling as low as the 20s north of I-4 and in the 30s and 40s all the way to parts of south Florida.
Florida: Heavy rain and wind could cause delays at Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville airports Tuesday and Tuesday night, with improving conditions by air Wednesday. Roadways will be impacted by periods of heavy rain and possible severe weather Tuesday in the panhandle, and then Tuesday night across the rest of the peninsula.
Southeast US: Heavy rain and wind could cause delays at Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, and Raleigh airports Tuesday night and Wednesday. Heavy rain will also cause some slow-ups on interstates during the same time. Snow and ice will snarl travel in the high country of North and South Carolina, and eastern Kentucky and Tennessee Tuesday night and early Wednesday.
Northeast US: Significant impact to travel, both air and land, is expected Wednesday. All major airports from Dulles to Boston (along the coast) will likely experience delays of several hours at some point on the busiest travel day of the year, and ground stoppages are possible for airports further inland (such as Pittsburgh and Buffalo). Ground travel will be severely impacted further inland in states such as West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania due to snow and ice accumulation Wednesday night. Only rain is expected along the I-95 corridor through the duration of the event. Conditions in the Northeast will improve dramatically on Thursday, with very little impact from weather expected for the remainder of the holiday period.
Rest of the Nation: Much of the central U.S. and upper Midwest will be calm and quiet during the holiday period, but rather cold. A warm-up will occur from the Plains west, and conditions should remain favorable for travel through Sunday. The extreme northwest could experience some impactful weather by Sunday, as a new storm comes ashore.
The winds you felt today in north Florida, gusting at times to 25 mph, are pushing in the coldest air of the fall season (so far) tonight. However, those same winds will likely be the saving grace that keeps most locations well above the freezing mark on the thermometer. Wind chills (what it feels like when you factor in the wind), though, will be literally “freezing” by morning in many areas.
Freeze warnings are in effect for Suwannee and Columbia counties in North Florida, but WRUF Weather does not anticipate widespread freezing temperatures in these areas. However, the northern parts of these counties, along with sheltered locations from the wind (also in parts of Gilchrist and Lafayette counties) might experience an hour or two near-freezing temperatures by morning. Residents in the aforementioned locations are encouraged to cover or bring plants inside to prevent damage. Elsewhere, a light north breeze will keep the air mixed (moving) and likely prevent a temperature drop to the freezing mark.
HOUR-BY-HOUR WIND CHILL
The same winds that will likely prevent a freeze will still leave their mark. The wind chill is a factor that is used to calculate how cold the wind feels to exposed skin at low temperatures. Current forecast data suggests that a prolonged period of near-freezing (32°) wind chills can be expected in most areas of North-Central Florida overnight. A persistent north breeze at around 10 mph is to thank for the frigid numbers. Temperatures will be rebounding quickly on Thursday, thanks to abundant sunshine and a lighter wind, to near 70 by afternoon.
It will only last a day or two, but much of Florida will be shocked by an early winter chill that will have folks pulling out heavy coats by mid-week. The front responsible for this sudden change is forecast to arrive Tuesday in the panhandle, and then quickly sweep across the rest of the state Wednesday. Moisture gathering in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of the front will be steered into central and south Florida, where most of the rain with this weather system will fall. A strong ridge of higher pressure will quickly build in behind the front, stirring up the winds to gale force in some areas, and leading to another round of adverse boating conditions on the Atlantic coast.
Coldest daytime temperatures Wednesday, coldest night Wednesday night
Best chances for significant rain in central and south Florida Wednesday
Gale force wind gusts (to 40mph) and seas 5 to 10 feet on Atlantic coast Wednesday and Thursday
COLDEST TEMPERATURES YET
The coldest air of the late fall season will arrive in north Florida Wednesday, sweeping across the rest of the state Wednesday night and Thursday. After a relatively warm day Tuesday (with highs near 80 in most inland areas), temperatures will fall late Tuesday night, and keep on falling through most of the day Wednesday north of the I-4 corridor. Afternoon readings in the 50s will be common, a full twenty degrees below values that are typical for this time of year. The coldest night time temperatures will occur Wednesday night in north Florida, and then Thursday night in central and south Florida. Lows Thursday morning in the 30s will be possible from the Suwannee River Valley and for much of the panhandle. The first 40-degree low temperatures of the season will be experienced across central Florida north of I-4 on Friday morning. A 50-degree chill could push as far south as inland areas of south Florida north of I-75.
This cold snap will be brief, though, as the upper-level winds will be quick to carry the polar air mass out to sea. A shift in the winds occurring Thursday and Friday will allow temperatures to return to the mid-November norms by the end of the week. In fact, some long range forecast data suggests above-normal temperatures could be back as early as Sunday, with many inland areas topping 80 degrees again!
RAIN MORE LIKELY IN CENTRAL AND SOUTH FLORIDA
An area of low pressure is likely to form on the aforementioned cold front as it presses southward mid-week. The big question mark is whether or not it form on the Gulf of Mexico side of the peninsula, or wait until the front moves further offshore on the Atlantic coast before maturing. The development of this low will be key to where the heaviest rain occurs as the front moves across Florida. Model data currently suggests that most of the rain will fall on the eastern side of Florida and mostly on Wednesday. Central and south Florida will have a much greater opportunity for an episode of heavier rain with the front if the low pressure strengthens some over the Gulf of Mexico before arriving. At the very least, most areas of the state south of a Cedar Key to Gainesville to Jacksonville line will likely see a few showers or drizzle in the wake of the front on Tuesday night or Wednesday.
GALE CONDITIONS ON ATLANTIC COAST
Winds frequently gusting to gale force will be common in the wake of the mid-week front on the Atlantic beaches, starting Wednesday along the First Coast and then spreading south toward the Treasure Coast by Thursday morning. A slew of wind and surf advisories are likely to be issued by the National Weather Service as the specifics of these conditions become more apparent in coming days. Boaters, swimmers and surfers are encouraged to stay tuned to local media or follow @FloridaStorms on Twitter for the very latest on the dangerous marine conditions expected mid-week.
High pressure typically brings warm, dry and calm weather. But not when it is so strong, sitting to our north, and interacting with an area of lower pressure to the south. The wind flow around both of these weather features will team up to deliver a strong onshore wind and some adverse conditions to Florida’s First Coast over the coming days, starting today and lingering through late Tuesday.
GALE WARNING for coastal waters from Altahama Sound, GA to Flagler Beach, FL out 20 nautical miles. Winds in these locations expected to be sustained 20 to 25 knots (approximately 25 to 30 mph), with frequent gusts to gale force (38 mph).
LAKE WIND ADVISORY for inland counties of Nassau, Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Putnam, Flagler, Coastal Glynn and Camden through Monday evening (likely to also be issued Tuesday). Winds in these locations will be sustained 20 to 25 mph, gusting to 35 mph at times.
Further inland (along I-75 corridor), breezy with sustained winds increasing to 15 mph, gusts to 20 mph at times in the afternoon hours Monday and Tuesday.
HIGH SURF ADVISORY for all coastal areas of Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida through Wednesday. Waves of 5 to 7 feet will be possible late Monday afternoon, building to 6 to 10 feet Monday night and Tuesday.
Intercoastal waterways and areas lakes will experience choppy to rough waters as well, especially during the afternoon hours.
Coastal showers will be numerous through the period, but will likely reach their peak on Tuesday
Showers will drift southwest Monday through Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Putnam and Marion counties on Monday.
Areas further inland and farther north toward Gainesville and Lake City have better chances of a few showers Tuesday and Wednesday. As rainbands approach, winds could gust several miles per hour higher than aforementioned numbers.
A fast-moving front will likely soak early tailgaters in Jacksonville for the annual Florida-Georgia game, but conditions are expected to improve dramatically by kickoff at Everbank Field Saturday afternoon. A soggy and humid morning will be transitioning to a drier, yet cooler evening as the front passes. The recent spell of unusual warmth will come to an abrupt end Saturday night as more typical early November temperatures arrive.
- Steadiest and heaviest rain ends by noon, spotty lingering showers until 2pm
- Cloudy, but DRY by kickoff
- Clearing, breezy and noticeably cooler by 2nd half
WRUF Weather has been tracking the front all week on its journey through the central part of the country. While not as strong as it was a day ago, the front was still producing a line of showers and thunderstorms ahead of it as it approached the panhandle on Friday. This line of rain and some thunder will continue marching eastward, arriving in North Florida after midnight Friday night. The heaviest and steadiest of rain will likely arrive in Jacksonville and Gainesville about the same time, likely just before daybreak Saturday. Model data is in strong agreement on these bands of rain exiting both cities by noon, with only a brief light shower or two lingering until about 2pm. Skies will likely be slow to clear through the first half of the game, and as the winds increase a bit out of the north, it will be apparent to fans that a new air mass is moving in. When the skies clear during the second half, the thermometer will reflect the cool down with temperatures falling well into the 60s.
Halloween will be more of treat, not a trick, this year as the warm and dry weather continues through the end of the week. This will end abruptly, however, when a cold front slides through on Saturday and delivers a round of rain and reality check on temperatures. Gator and Bulldog fans headed to Jacksonville shouldn’t be too bothered by the front, though, as much of the rain will fall before the game kicks off and the coldest of temperatures won’t arrive until well after it concludes.
UPDATED HALLOWEEN FORECAST
Morning fog could make the skies look eery in the morning, but by afternoon the sun will illuminate the sky brightly and it will feel more like Labor Day than late October. Along with above normal temperatures, the humidity will be higher than normal as well. Daytime highs are headed for the middle 80s and with the humidity, it may feel closer to 90 by mid-afternoon. Trick-or-treat temperatures during the evening will be falling into the 70s and skies will remain partly cloudy.
Saturday’s front is forecast to move through quickly, likely impacting tailgaters more than the game itself in Jacksonville. A round of showers and maybe a thunderstorm are likely to hit most areas of north Florida with its arrival. The projected start time in Jacksonville is around 9am, with most of the showers likely ending by 2pm. WRUF Weather is confident that the heaviest and steadiest rain will be over by kickoff at 3:30. However, a few low clouds and areas of light rain or drizzle may still be on its way out through the first half. The bigger story by game time will be the cooler temperatures and increase in wind. Temperatures are likely to fall quickly into the 60s by the second half, and when combined with an increasing north breeze of about 15 mph, it will feel noticeably cooler than when the game begins. What may offset the stiff north breeze will be a limited amount of sunshine breaking out in the wake of the front before sunset.
Stay with WRUF Weather and follow us on Twitter @WRUFWeather for future updates on the weekend forecast in relation to the Florida-Georgia game Saturday.
The cool, crisp autumn weather of late will be scared away by a shift in the winds this week across North Florida. Jackets and hoodies will likely be replaced by shorts and short-sleeves by midweek as late-summer warmth and humidity seemingly come back from the dead. And while projected temperatures are unusually warm for this time of year, the record books will likely not be spooked.
FIRST, THE WARM-UP
Temperatures in Gainesville Monday will likely crack the 80-degree mark, which will be noticeable considering the past six days have only topped out in the 70s. A wind more out of the east rather than the north is to thank for the air mass modification. With ample sunshine through mid-week, temperatures will likely continue to climb, possibly reaching the upper 80s by Thursday. Overnight lows will be more mild as well, only dipping into the 50s Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Average highs and lows for this time of year are in the upper 70s and middle 50s respectively. Records are likely safe through this warm spell, with record lows mainly in the lower 30s and record highs in the lower 90s.
THEN, THE HUMIDITY
A trough of low pressure is forecast to develop along the Atlantic Coast, further strengthening the on-shore flow by mid-week. The warm ocean temperatures will sponsor a more humid air mass that pushes inland by Thursday and Friday. Dew points are often used as a measuring tool of how uncomfortable the air can feel in Florida, and they are forecast to be near 70 by Friday, a sharp contrast to the 40s we had over the weekend.
After a warm afternoon, trick-or-treaters should have a mild and comfortable evening to enjoy on Thursday. Skies will likely be partly cloudy and temperatures will be falling into the 70s.
The projected warm spell this week will likely come to an abrupt end with a cold front arriving this weekend. Early model data suggests the front will be accompanied by widespread rain and maybe even a few thunderstorms. The speed of the front will be the key to how much of an impact it could have on Gator and Bulldog fans heading to Jacksonville this weekend. We will most-certainly keep you updated on its progress and fine-tune our forecast in future updates.
A new air mass arrived on the scene today, one that was noticeably less humid and slightly cooler. North winds were to thank for the change, and the comfortable (sometimes cool) late-October weather will continue for several more days. A reinforcing shot of even cooler air will arrive this weekend, sending temperatures below normal through early next week.
COOLEST TONIGHT SINCE MID-MAY
The dew point is often the tool we use to measure the moisture content in the atmosphere. And Wednesday it plummeted to 47 at 2 pm, more than 25 degrees lower than it was just 24 hours prior. Dry air cools and warms much faster than humid air, and for this reason North Florida is headed for one of its coolest nights since late spring. Temperatures will likely drop very quickly after sunset, and dive all the way into the upper 40s by daybreak Thursday. The projected low in Gainesville of 47 is the coolest since 45 was recorded on May 14, 2013.
REINFORCING SHOT THIS WEEKEND
Gorgeous conditions will prevail across North Florida for the rest of the week (depending on how much you enjoy the cool, crisp air). Even though Wednesday night will be the coolest since Mid-May, it won’t be the coldest night of the next ten. A second cold front will be moving through late Friday, strengthening the north winds and ushering in an even cooler air mass by Saturday. Friday night is projected to be the coolest during this stretch, and WRUF Weather is projecting a low of 45 in Gainesville Saturday morning. Outlying areas to the north and west of town, especially near the Suwannee and Santa Fe river valleys, could dip as low as 40 Saturday morning. A strong ridge of high pressure will build in behind the Friday front, keeping rain chances out of the forecast for the next week. A storm system moving out of the Mid-South may bring back a slight chance for a shower by the end of the month, but details on this will be forthcoming in future forecasts.
PERSPECTIVE ON THIS COOL SNAP
The air mass arriving this week is a bit cooler than normal, but certainly not anything close to record-breaking. Daytime highs will be mainly in the middle 70s through the weekend, which is about five degrees cooler than the average of 80 for this time of year. Overnight lows in the 40s are certainly cooler than the average for this time of year (upper 50s), but no where near the records for the coming dates.
THURSDAY – forecast is 47, record is 42 from 2011.
FRIDAY – forecast is 49, record is 33 from 1937.
SATURDAY – forecast is 45, record is 36 from 1917.
SUNDAY – forecast is 48, record is 34 from 1903.
MONDAY – forecast is 51, record is 34 from 1962.
Tonight is the night we are closest to tying or setting a record, and is only five degrees away from the record.
Karen may no longer be a tropical storm threat for North Florida, but the remnant area of low pressure and approaching cold front are likely to soak the region through Tuesday. And a new storm is likely to form near the First Coast, keeping the weather less-than-ideal for outdoor activities there through mid-week. Heavy rain and a few strong thunderstorms are likely for inland areas Monday, then heavy rain, gusty winds, and high surf are the primary concerns for beach-goers and coastal residents Monday night through Wednesday.
INLAND AREAS: REST OF MONDAY – Updated 2:00pm
Skies broke up a bit early Monday, which allowed the air mass ahead of these systems to destabilize slightly with temperatures reaching the middle 80s. It won’t take long for showers and thunderstorms to form near the Nature Coast and spread inland. Some of the rainfall this afternoon will be locally heavy, especially where cells are moving slowly to the northeast. Rainfall amounts will generally run 0.5 to 1 inch in most areas, with locally higher amounts possible where multiple storms hit the same areas. The heaviest rain is expected to fall near a line from Chiefland to High Springs to Jacksonville (part of Gilchrist, Alachua, Bradford, Union, Clay, Duval and Baker counties). Heavy rain will likely taper off this evening for North Florida, but lighter showers or drizzle may carry well into the evening, especially near the Florida-Georgia border and points north.
FIRST COAST: MONDAY NIGHT AND TUESDAY
A new area of low pressure is likely to form off the First Coast overnight Monday, and it will only slowly drift northeast toward the Carolinas by mid-week. This will prolong the unsettled weather along the beaches of Northeast Florida and for much of Southeast Georgia through at least Tuesday afternoon. The steadier, heavier rains will gradually drift north and out of the area by Tuesday morning, but showers are likely to redevelop again for most coastal and inland areas Tuesday afternoon due to some cooler, unstable air aloft wrapping around the storm. Winds will lag behind the rain some, but are likely to prompt Small Craft Advisories by Tuesday afternoon for all coastal waters. The highest wind gusts will be near 35 mph in Southeast Georgia Tuesday, steadily increasing also in Northeast Florida Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to about 30 mph. A strong onshore wind such as this will lead to an elevated rip current risk, and possibly some minor coastal flooding during times of high tide in low-lying areas.