WRUF Weather

2014 National Hurricane Conference: Huffman’s Live Blog

By on April 14th, 2014

Meteorologist Jeff Huffman is attending and reporting from the 2014 National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Florida this week.  Follow along as he gathers and shares valuable information related to the upcoming season.  Feel free to ask him questions and he’ll answer them as time allows.

 

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Gators Road Trip Forecast

By on September 6th, 2012

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.

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Tropical Storm Sandy Forms, Likely to Strengthen Rapidly

By on October 22nd, 2012

CURRENT SITUATION

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.

FORECAST DISCUSSION

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.

 

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Sandy vs. Florida: Too Close to Call

By on October 23rd, 2012

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.

Similar storms in location and date to where and when T.S. Sandy formed. Data courtesy of NOAA.

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.

NHC Forecast Path and Model Variance (as seen on Monday night)

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:

Latest Tropical Update Video

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Sandy Pulling Away; Stays Windy through Sunday

CURRENT SITUATION

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.

FORECAST DISCUSSION

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 VIDEOS

Potential Impacts from Sandy in N-Central Florida
Complete Tropical Weather Update

 

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.

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WRUF AWARENESS WEEK

By on February 24th, 2014

Spring is right around the corner, and it won’t be long until we will hear the sound of thunder nearly every day.  It’s the time of year when Floridians are eager to spend more time in the sun and enjoy the numerous attractions that make this state famous.  It’s also the time of year when our typically calm winter pattern turns unsettled and hazardous.  This week is designated by our State’s Division of Emergency Management to educate Floridians on the various hazards that frequently impact the state and how families or businesses can prepare for these natural events.  WRUF Weather will also use it as a week to prepare for an outbreak of severe weather that could impact our operations at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communication and the lives of our audience.  We will focus on a different potential hazard each day and share how you can avoid the danger altogether or take steps to mitigate its impact on your life or property.

LIGHTNING

More people are killed by lightning in Florida than any other state. Within the last 50 years, there have been over 450 lightning related fatalities in The Sunshine State, more than twice the number that have occurred in the second state on the list – Texas.

Very few people can ride out an entire Florida Summer without getting caught in at least one thunderstorm.  Most of us actually become so accustomed to the sound of thunder and frequent flashes of lightning that we begin to overlook the lethal dangers they present.

Lightning strikes the United States approximately 25 million times a year.  While it may be true your odds at getting struck are less than winning the lottery, you can lower your chances even more by playing it safe when a storm hits.  There is NO gauranteed safe place outdoors during a thunderstorm.  Always consider moving inside at the first sound of thunder. Also, remember to stay away from windows and off land-line phones.

An open area  is the LAST place you want to be in a thunderstorm.  But in the event you are caught unexpectedly, from a personal experience here’s how you know you’re in danger.   Your hair will stand straight on end, not only on your arms and neck, but also on your head, and this is also accompanied by a tingling sensation. When this occurs, you’ve become a positively charged streamer and need to either run quickly to shelter, or crouch down on the balls of your feet, making as little contact with the ground as possible.

Of all the weather hazards we track at WRUF, lightning is THE MOST unpredictable phenomenon. Staying informed and aware of the risks are crucial to staying out of harm’s way.  Before you head out on a stormy day, check Storm Track Doppler on WRUF-TV or online for LIVE lightning tracking.

RIP CURRENTS

The average speed inside a rip current is 1 to 2 feet per second, which is faster than it may sound.  Speeds of up to 8 feet per second have been recorded, which is faster than Olympic Gold Medalist and former UF Swimmer Ryan Lochte can swim!

Rip currents are most threatening when the tide is high and seas are rough.  Always look for the red flag warning once getting to the beach, as this indicates high surf and potentially strong currents.

It’s important to remember that rip currents don’t pull you under; they drag you away from shore.  Rip currents move swiftly out to sea, so to escape a rip current, stay calm and swim parallel to the shoreline.

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UPDATE: Flooding still a concern, severe weather possible through Friday evening

By on April 17th, 2014

TRACK THE STORMS WITH US LIVE – ASK QUESTIONS, SHARE REPORTS!

UPDATE: FRIDAY 5:00 PM

Showers over North Central Florida have started to become a bit lighter in nature, but we’re still keeping an eye out for the possibility of isolated strong storms during the evening hours. Primary threats during the overnight hours will be strong winds. The flooding risk is diminishing for Alachua, Marion, and Gilchrist County, but flooding is still a concern over North Central Florida. An additional 1-2″ of rainfall are possible overnight, with an additional 3″+ in localized areas.

UPDATE: FRIDAY 1:30PM

Rain will become steadier in Alachua County by 2pm, with isolated, stronger storms possible after 4pm. A severe threat does exist including wind damage, isolated tornadoes and small hail. This risk lies mainly to the east of I-75. The axis of heavy rain will be along the I-10 corridor where flooding is a concern. Breaks in the activity will occur near 10pm, but showers are possible throughout the evening tonight

Threat Tracker showing moderate risk of wind damage, low risk for isolated tornadoes and small hail.

UPDATE: FRIDAY 11AM

Much of the rain that was expected well ahead of the main front this evening has not developed. While this has temporarily led to a much nicer Friday for much of North-Central Florida so far, it also has allowed the atmosphere to destabilize a bit more than earlier model data had suggested.  As a result, the threat for severe thunderstorms has increased slightly for Gainesville and Ocala this afternoon and early this evening.  We are monitoring conditions minute-minute-minute and providing more frequent updates on our Personal Storm Tracking Blog.

UPDATED Threat Tracker for this afternoon.

UPDATE: FRIDAY 6AM

New model data suggests the area of low pressure might be a little stronger as it approaches the Big Bend region of the Florida panhandle.  As a result, a slightly more unstable air mass could advance as far north as Gainesville and Ocala by Friday afternoon.  The heavy rain part of our forecast (with potential flooding) is still on track, and we no reason to make changes at the present time. However, we have adjusted our Threat Tracker to include Alachua County for possible wind damage, isolated tornadoes, and small hail (see map below).

Original post from early Thursday morning…

Here we go again!  Another significant rain event with a low-end risk for severe weather is likely in North Florida Friday and Friday night.  We’ve had several of these already this year, leading to a surplus (compared to normal) in Gainesville’s rain gauge of roughly six inches dating back to November 2013. Thankfully, these events have been largely spread out over time with decent stretches of dry weather between them. Nonetheless, many area rivers are already near flood stage and every heavy rainfall event, such as this one, poses an increased risk for flooding.

In addition to the potential for heavy rain and flooding, the storm system that will trigger the wet weather is also expected to carry with it a risk for severe weather.  Uncertainty is unusually high in the strength and track of an area of low pressure out of the Gulf of Mexico late Friday or early Saturday, both of which will play a role in the location and severity of any thunderstorm activity.  Stay in touch with WRUF Weather over the coming hours leading up to the event for frequent updates.

As of Thursday morning, here is a breakdown of our latest thoughts as it relates to the timing of the rain, the flooding potential and severe weather threats.

 

TIMING OF THE RAIN

  • Friday – widespread rain with some embedded thunderstorms likely. Heaviest rain is most-likely to occur during the morning and midday hours.
  • Friday night – stronger thunderstorms are possible as the storm system approaches, but significant question marks still exist on the location and severity of these storms.
  • Saturday – periods of light to moderate rain are still possible in the morning, with a gradual drying trend expected by afternoon.

FLOODING POTENTIAL

Not all of the rain with system will fall at once, which is great news for water-logged parts of North Florida.  However, the areas that are most prone to flooding in this event are also the most likely to receive the heaviest accumulation.  Locations near the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers will probably see at least two inches of total rainfall (through Saturday), with the possibility of some locales receiving as many as four inches of rain.  Significant model differences do exist in where the axis of heaviest rain will fall, and it is possible that cities such as Gainesville or Ocala will see well more than two inches of rain also.  River flooding will obviously be a concern in the hours and days following this event.  It should also be noted, however, that if thunderstorms with heavy rain tend to repeat themselves over some of the same areas (often called “training”), urban and flash flooding will become possible as well.

SEVERE T-STORM POTENTIAL

At this time, confidence is very low in exactly when or where stronger thunderstorms may develop with this system.  A few stronger storms capable of hail and wind damage are possible along a northward-moving warm front Friday afternoon, but latest model data suggests that will stay closer to the I-4 corridor.  A strong cold front and strengthening area of low pressure moving in off the Gulf of Mexico will carry with it a low risk for wind damage and isolated tornadoes when it arrives Friday night or early Saturday.  However, considerable uncertainty remains on how unstable our atmosphere will be upon its arrival.  We will closely monitor conditions as the storm develops and keep you updated on these apparent risks.

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Strong Storms Tuesday, Much Cooler Wednesday

We’ve enjoyed a long stretch of warm, dry and mainly sunny weather for nearly a week in North Florida.  And it won’t be long until we’ll be wishing for a cold front to bring relief from heat and humidity.  However, it’s still spring and cold fronts still typically pass through every 7 to 10 days this time of year.  WRUF Weather is tracking our next one that will bring widespread showers and thunderstorms to our area Tuesday, followed by a sudden drop in temperature Tuesday night.

The storm system sending the front our way has already produced damage from hail, wind and tornadoes across the central U.S.  It should be entering the extreme western parts of the Panhandle in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, bringing some heavy rainfall and thunder to Pensacola as early as 2am, then moving toward Tallahassee by 4am.

 

TIMING OF THE STORMS

  • Arriving as early at 10am, but more likely from Noon to 4pm
  • Strong storms possible on the leading edge of the line
  • Minor wind damage and frequent lightning the primary hazards

Snapshot of Futuretrack at 2pm when the storms will likely be arriving in Gainesville.

Alachua County residents will have dry roads for the morning commute, but the storms will be getting close by the lunch hour.  Recent model data suggests the first cells could approach Gainesville by 10am, but that the stronger activity is most likely closer to noon.  Some of these thunderstorms could produce minor wind damage and frequent lightning. Follow WRUF Weather on twitter @WRUFweather (with notifications on) or watch WRUF-TV Weather on the 6′s for frequent and live updates.  You can also follow along with us using our Personal Storm Tracking live blog from your desk at work.  The showers will then taper off by 6pm, so if you have plans Tuesday night, you can leave the umbrellas at home.

 

MUCH COLDER TUESDAY NIGHT

After the front passes through, a north wind will become blustery and send in significantly cooler air.  Overnight lows Tuesday night into Wednesday morning will fall into the middle 40′s, some 40 degrees colder than daytime highs just a day or two ago.  Temperatures will quickly recover by Thursday and Friday, thanks to an easterly wind coming in off the Atlantic.

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Severe Thunderstorms Possible in North Florida Monday Night

By on April 4th, 2014

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Near-Record Cold and Bitter Wind Chills Wednesday Morning

By on March 25th, 2014

We are six days in to spring and temperatures have been close to normal so far. However, spring is about to take a “break as a brief blast of cold air arrives Tuesday evening and sends shivers down your spine Wednesday.

WIND SPEEDS

As low pressure strengthens and moves away overnight, higher pressure will quickly replace it.  This change in this pressure, or the gradient, will tighten and cause winds to increase this afternoon.  Sustained northwest winds of 15 to 20 mph can be expected in Alachua County, with frequent gusts to 30 mph possible.

 

NEAR-RECORD COLD TONIGHT

Strong cold air advection will send temperatures tumbling overnight, likely to a low between near 35 in most areas by 7 am Wednesday.  Gainesville’s record low for March 26th is 34, set just one year ago in 2013.  Gainesville also had a late-season freeze last year on the 27th, dropping to a second consecutive record low temperature of 30.   The cool air will spill over into Wednesday afternoon as well, with daytime highs only reaching the lower 60′s, nearly 15 degrees below what is normal for this time of year.

 

BITTER WIND CHILLS

When you factor in the elevated wind speeds with the colder temperatures, we get a wind chill factor of what it will feel like.  Since it is now spring, some of us may have put away our winter gear, but its time to bring it out again.  Wind chills in most areas will likely be near 30°, and even briefly dipping into the upper 20′s in a few spots around commute time Wednesday morning.

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Flood Warnings posted for North Florida Rivers through the Weekend

By on March 17th, 2014

River levels were already high from recent rains during the winter months, and today’s rainfall could send some of them over their banks by the weekend.  As of midday Monday, manly locations in north Florida and southeast Georgia had already recorded more than two inches of rain since Sunday evening.  Additional rainfall of close to an inch is expected overnight in these same areas, bringing storm totals to near three inches before it ends Tuesday morning.

Runoff from the recent heavy rain is predicted to result in minor to moderate flooding along some area rivers, according to the National Weather Service.  Forecast crests will likely fluctuate throughout the week depending on how much more rain occurs and the pace at which it runs off.  As of Monday afternoon, here are the latest potential impacts:

 

Suwannee River near Suwannee Springs

  • Significant rise through the end of the week, reaching flood stage late Friday, cresting close to 69 feet by Saturday

  • Moderate flooding expected, and evacuations of some homes may be necessary later this week

  • Remains above flood stage through early next week

 

Santa Fe River near Fort White

  • Rises above flood stage midday Tuesday, cresting near 26 feet Saturday

  • Minor damage to dwellings is possible due to boat wash, and some basements near the river may flood

  • Remains above flood stage through early next week.

St. Mary’s River Near Macclenny

  • Rises above flood stage Tuesday afternoon, cresting near 13.4 feet on Thursday

  • Minor flooding expected in low bottomlands along the river and lower river access roads

  • Remains above flood stage through at least the weekend

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Heavy Rain Likely, Severe Weather Possible in North Florida Monday

By on March 16th, 2014

An early spring storm will deliver heavy rain and possible severe weather to North Florida on Monday. Confidence is high that nearly all areas will receive at least an inch of rain, but some areas could see upwards of three or more inches before the storm moves out early Tuesday.  Strong thunderstorms are also possible, with a low risk that some of them could produce wind damage or an isolated tornado.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7LaIaTNazI

 

RAIN TIMING

  • Big Bend to Lake City corridor – thunderstorms arrive this evening after 7pm, tapers off some overnight, then becomes much heavier toward daybreak, followed by off and on periods of heavy rain and distant thunder through sunrise Tuesday.

  • Cedar Key to Gainesville to Palatka corridor – a shower can’t be ruled out Sunday evening, but the heavier and steadier rain likely starts with some thunder by 6am Monday, then periods of heavy rain and some thunder will continue all day with only a few short-lived breaks, tapering off late evening to a few showers that will linger through 9am Tuesday.

  • Marion County and points south – mostly dry through 9am Monday, at which point a few strong thunderstorms will mark the arrival of the event, followed by a steady rain nearly all day, becoming heavier at times with more thunder late afternoon, continuing through the overnight hours, finally tapering off to a few lingering showers through 10am Tuesday.

 

FLOODING POTENTIAL

The slow-moving nature of the storm system, combined with several waves of energy loaded with moisture moving in off the gulf, falling on already saturated soils, will increase the risk for flooding of many low-lying areas, creeks and streams.  Rainfall totals will likely exceed two inches in most of North Florida through Tuesday morning.  Some locations, especially where the heavier downpours move over some of the same areas, could see more than three inches of total rainfall.  At the present time, we think this is most-likely near and north of a Cedar Key to Gainesville to Starke line (see map).

Residents that live near flood-prone areas need to prepare for quick water rises during the heaviest downpours Monday and Monday night.  Local small rivers, creeks and streams may also flood from the runoff of this event for a few days after it is over.  Motorists are urged to use extreme caution Monday when driving through ponding on roadways and are reminded to always turn around if the water covers the road.

 

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM THREAT

The early arrival of clouds and rain Monday will likely mitigate what could be a significant severe weather threat for parts of North Florida.  The storm is dynamic, full of moisture, and has all of the ingredients to produce severe thunderstorms minus instability.  As a result, only those areas that are able to hold off the morning rain and heat up a bit have a significant chance for wind damage or isolated tornadoes.  This is most-likely south of a Citrus Springs-Ocala-Palatka line from late morning through mid-afternoon.  Even though the chances are low, a thunderstorm producing wind damage can not be ruled out farther north in cities such as Gainesville or Starke.  By Monday evening, the atmosphere will have been tamed in all areas and severe weather is not anticipated.

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Heavy Rain Likely Thursday in North Florida…Again.

By on March 5th, 2014

WRUF Weather has been tracking it for days, and Thursday it arrives in North Florida on schedule.  Another significant rainfall event, that at times will come down in buckets, will keep umbrellas busy at times through Friday morning.  Gainesville has been no stranger to heavy rain recently, with more than 16 inches being recorded at the airport in the past four months, a time of year not typically known for heavy rain.

RAINFALL TIMING

  • This Evening: light and spotty showers
  • Thursday: heavy rain and some thunder midday
  • Friday: early morning brief showers

The rainfall will be arriving in three waves through Friday morning, with the heaviest likely occurring midday Thursday. The first wave of rain, mainly in the form of a few showers, arrives this evening. We should see a brief reprieve from the steady rainfall during the Thursday morning commute, before a second and more widespread round arrives by mid-morning.  The energy associated with this wave is stronger, leading to heavy rainfall at times and even a few thunderstorms. Drier conditions are expected in the wake of this round by early evening, lasting into the overnight hours.  A third and final round of showers is possible early Friday morning with the passage of a weak cold front. This episode of rain completes the three-day event, leaving us with clearing skies and climbing temperatures by the end of the weekend.

RAINFALL AMOUNTS

Amounts from this event will be significant, but likely occurring over a long enough period of time to prevent much in the way of flooding.  Nonetheless, minor urban flooding and ponding of water on roadways will most certainly be possible during the downpours Thursday.  Total rainfall accumulation through Friday morning will range from 2 to 2.5 inches near and north of a line from Cedar Key to High Springs to Starke.  Further south, through much of Levy, Alachua, and Putnam counties, rainfall will likely total around an inch to 1.5 inches.  Marion County and points south will generally rainfall of around an inch with this system.

A FEW STRONG STORMS POSSIBLE

The atmospheric setup for this event is similar to the one a couple of Sunday’s ago when severe weather threatened the Daytona 500.  Most of North Central Florida was spared from the severe thunderstorms, and this will likely be the case Thursday as well. Most of the severe weather will be concentrated over Central and Southern Florida where higher amounts of moisture and instability will reside. However, as the stalled front over Florida starts to push to the north late Thursday, a couple of stronger storms are possible from Alachua County and points south. The primary threats associated with any strong storms that do fire up will be minor wind damage and small hail. A widespread severe weather outbreak is not anticipated, but a few strong storms are certainly possible Thursday afternoon.

 

Tune to WRUF-TV, Cox Cable Channel 6,  for live tracking of any strong storms, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @WRUFWeather for any Strong Storm Alerts in North Central Florida.

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A Wet Winter is Likely to Carry Over into Early Spring for North Florida

By on March 4th, 2014

It’s been a wet winter in Gainesville.  Dating back to November, the regional airport has recorded nearly 16 inches of rain, more than five inches above the normal totals for the four-month period.  A persistent dip in the jet stream over the eastern third of the country is the primary reason for the wet pattern.  This river of air aloft has steered strong storm systems toward Florida on a consistent basis for several months, averaging about one per week.  And now that spring-like warmth is starting it’s annual fight against the retreating cold air masses of winter, the typical wet month of March is likely to be no different in 2014 for the region.

THE SET UP

Long range forecast data suggests that an active jet stream will continue to send pieces of energy across the southern states that will breed unsettled weather in the Gulf of Mexico over the next two, maybe three weeks.  As these low pressure systems move across the peninsula, they flare up along the boundary that separates the retreating winter cold and advancing spring warmth.  This boundary, often referred to as a front, aids in the development and track of clusters of showers and thunderstorms. It moves north ahead of a storm, then is pushed further south by cooler north winds in the wake of a low pressure system.  The episodes of storminess will likely be separated by periods of dry weather lasting four to five days.

 

OUR NEXT RAIN EVENT

The next storm system will send two distinct waves of precipitation across the state over the next two days.  The first wave will be more aimed at the panhandle and I-10 corridor on Wednesday.  A second and more substantial episode of rainfall will hit the rest of the state on Thursday.  Stronger thunderstorms will also be possible Thursday along and south of the I-4 corridor where warmer and more humid air will reside.  Rainfall amounts from the two-day event will range from near two inches along I-10 to around a half inch in Marion County and points southward.  Rainfall accumulation of 0.5 to 1 inch is expected for much of North-Central Florida, including Cedar Key and Gainesville.

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Spring-Like Weather Takes a “Break” Starting Tomorrow

By on March 3rd, 2014

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