WRUF Weather

Possible tropical development close to Southeast US this weekend

By on June 26th, 2014

An area of disturbed weather along the tail end of a front could evolve into an area of low pressure this weekend just off the coast of the Carolina’s.  The National Hurricane Center is giving it a “low chance” of tropical development during the Sunday to Tuesday time frame.  Forecast data suggests that whatever does form, tropical or not, would drift slowly southwestward and potentially impact portions of Florida early next week.  Forecast specifics are obviously inconclusive at this early stage, but residents all along the Atlantic beaches are urged to stay informed of the latest forecast in the coming days.

Tropical Storm Debby as it came ashore near Cedar Key in June 2012, flooding many streets and businesses. Photo credit: Jeff Huffman

Storms that develop close to home and move in quirky directions are not that uncommon this time of year. It was only two years ago to the week that Tropical Storm Debby came ashore on Florida’s Nature Coast, resulting in an estimated $250 million in damage and 10 fatalities in the United States.  Debby baffled some meteorologists because just two days before landfall, the official forecast was for landfall in Texas or Louisiana. Just three weeks prior, Tropical Storm Beryl blitzed Florida’s First Coast before the official hurricane season even began. Beryl’s journey included a near 180-degree turn to the southwest off the coast of the Carolina’s.  Both storms, in addition to subtropical storm Chris forming between the two, originated within 500 miles of Florida’s coastline.  And all three formed along the tail end of a front or trough of low pressure.

While it is certainly a bit too soon to project the fate of our “area of interest” this weekend, history certainly doesn’t deny that something tropical could form and approach Florida from the northeast.  At the very least, unsettled conditions including heavy rain and choppy seas should be expected close to wherever this disturbance moves early next week.

Stay tuned to WRUF-TV for Tropical Weather Updates at 20 minutes past the hour, or follow along on Twitter @WRUFWeather.

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Less Rain, More Heat

By on June 25th, 2014

A developing upper level ridge has kept North Central Florida in a dry pattern today.  This high pressure will enable a drier but warmer pattern to continue through Saturday.

A quick warm-up to the mid 90s and the lack of early rain will enable a few late evening showers tonight.  Most of the activity will be spotty and situated west of I-75 and drift to the southeast.  All areas will dry out by 9pm and we’ll be left with a muggy 72 for our morning low.

The heat will really be something to watch for Thursday.  The warm-up will be assisted by later and lower chances for rain.  Temperatures will once again reach the mid 90′s with heat indices surpassing 100.  Onshore flow from both the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast will cause a few seabreeze showers by afternoon but coverage will be low.  The anchored high pressure overhead will cause this pattern of afternoon storms and quick warm-ups to continue through Saturday.  A low center of pressure will develop offshore by Sunday and Monday strengthening the Atlantic Seabreeze resulting in more coverage of storms and temperature returning to average.

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Drying Out in Gainesville Tuesday Evening

By on June 24th, 2014

Dry air in the mid-levels of the atmosphere led to lower coverage of the shower and thunderstorms activity today, but it just happened to be Gainesville’s day to get hit. All of the activity has shifted off to the east and will leave a dry evening up ahead for Gainesville.

Temperatures will rebound with the break in the rain and sunshine that broke through later in the afternoon. Most of the shower and thunderstorm activity will remain near the St. Johns River Valley and the I-95 corridor. Areas near and west of I-75 will remain dry as temperatures fall to the 70s overnight.

 

 

Wednesday’s showers and thunderstorms will have a similar set up to Tuesday, but not as strong as Tuesday in Gainesville. The Gulf sea breeze will advance inland early once again and some stronger storms may develop near the St. Johns River Valley and in between Highway 301 and I-95.

 

The lower coverage of showers and thunderstorms will continue through Thursday and will allow temperatures and heat indices to soar. Temperatures will be in the mid 90s with a heat index near 100° each day this week.

You can follow us on Twitter @WRUFWeather and tweet us your photos with #WeatherTogether. Track any of the storms with us at WRUFWeather.com.

 

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Rain Chances Down, Heat Builds Midweek

By on June 23rd, 2014

High pressure will be increasing winds out of the Gulf starting on Tuesday. This will push the Gulf sea breeze well inland and send the greatest rain chances east of the I-75 corridor and Gainesville. This will allow for clearer skies and drier weather for the middle of this week in inland North Florida.

Low rain chances through Thursday of this week with a similar rain pattern will ensue. That will allow for the numbers on the thermometer to rise as well as a rise in how it feels.Heat indices will be on the rise to near or above the 100° mark.

 

The Gulf sea breeze will quickly move east to a nearly stationary Atlantic sea breeze that will be pinned to the east coast. There will be a slight chance for spotty showers and thunderstorms near the I-75 corridor as the Gulf sea breeze moves inland. The greatest chances for showers and thunderstorms will be near the St. Johns River Valley and the east coast in the afternoon hours.

You can find the latest forecast on WRUF-TV’s Weather on the 6′s or on Twitter @WRUFWeather.

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Most of Monday’s Rain Likely Midday

By on June 22nd, 2014

A stronger wind out of the west will send the Nature Coast sea breeze in much faster on Monday.  In fact, showers and a few thunderstorms could develop along it as early as 10am on Monday.  The rain and thunder will become more widespread along the I-75 corridor and will likely impact Lake City, Gainesville, and Ocala by midday.  By late afternoon, most of the storms will then push closer to the St. John’s River valley and near a stationary Atlantic sea breeze pinned close to the coast.  The atmosphere further inland will likely stabilize by late afternoon and most of the rain for North-Central Florida should be over by 6 pm, making way for a mainly dry evening.

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Strong Storms Likely Near I-75 Friday Evening

By on June 20th, 2014

The atmosphere was sizzling Friday across north Florida, with temperatures reaching the lower 90′s and heat indices topping 100 in many locations.  A slower advancing sea breeze from both coasts has delayed the arrival of the typical afternoon showers and thunderstorms, and at the same time an upper-level disturbance was approaching from the north.  All three boundaries are likely to collide near or just west of the I-75 corridor in Alachua and Marion counties between 7 and 11pm this evening, likely leading to numerous strong thunderstorms.  The primary threats with tonight’s storms will be minor wind damage, dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning, small hail, and very heavy rain.  We will be tracking the storms with your Weather on the 6′s on WRUF-TV and on our Twitter account @WRUFWeather.

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Tuesday’s Triple Digit Heat to Turn Skies Turbulent by Evening

By on June 10th, 2014

UPDATE:  Possible sea breeze collision zone today is likely to be near US 301 and not until after 6pm.  A surge of deeper moisture from central and south Florida could aid in the redevelopment of showers and thunderstorms for many inland locations well into the evening.  Early in the evening, some of the stronger cells could be capable of winds up to 50 mph and small hail.

 

A late arrival to showers and thunderstorms will allow for temperatures to climb this afternoon. But it’s not that high temperature you should worry about, it’s how hot it’s actually going to feel with the heat index.

For the first time this year, the heat index in Gainesville broke the 100° mark on Monday and will repeat itself on Tuesday. Heat indices will be near or above the 100° between 1 and 4pm Tuesday afternoon. Remember to take precautions if outdoors during this time by wearing light colored clothing, drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding strenuous activity.

 
Relief from the heat will be arriving later in the afternoon hours in the form of showers and thunderstorms. Spotty showers will move inland after 2pm, but stronger storms will start to develop where the sea breezes collide around drive time. Isolated strong storms are possible mainly near and just east of the I-75 corridor. Later in the evening, some of these cells could drift northwest towards the cities of Gainesville and Ocala. Main threats associated with these storms are strong winds, small hail and frequent lightning. Shower and thunderstorm activity will end by 10pm.

WRUF Weather will be tracking all of the storms on WRUFWeather.com where you can track the storms with us using the “Personal Storm Tracking Tool.” You can also send us your damage reports on our website, tweet photos to our Twitter account @WRUFWeather using  #WeatherTogether, or through email weather@wruf.com.

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Triple Digit Heat Index Ahead of Showers and Thunderstorms Monday Afternoon

By on June 9th, 2014

A dry start to Monday will allow temperatures to soar… and the heat index. Not only will high temperatures be above 90°, the heat index will be in the triple digits. It will likely be the first time this year the heat index will break the 100° mark in Gainesville.  The highest heat index and the highest temperatures will occur around 2pm today and it is encouraged to take precautions while outdoors.

Hour-by-hour for Gainesville with the heat index this afternoon

 

Safety tips when spending time outdoors:

  • Wear light colored clothing
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol
  • Slow down – avoid strenuous activity.

 

 

Timing and likelihood of showers and thunderstorms Monday afternoon

Then, relief from the heat will come in the form of scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon hours. Activity today will be concentrated mainly near and east of the I-75 corridor and west of I-95. Spotty showers will begin to move inland after 2pm with stronger activity possible after 4pm, especially in the light blue shaded region. Some locally strong storms are possible with frequent lightning, heavy downpours and gusty winds.

 

WRUF Weather will be tracking all of the storms on WRUFWeather.com where you can track the storms with us using the personal storm tracking tool. You can also send photos of damage to us on Twitter to our handle @WRUFWeather using #Weather Together or through email weather@wruf.com.

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Update: Straight-Line Winds Damage Homes and Businesses in North Florida Sunday

Update:  The National Weather Service confirmed to WRUF Weather that the damage from Sunday’s storms was a result of downburst winds and not a tornado.  Dr. David Prevatt, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering for the University of Florida, has done extensive research on the mitigation of wind damage to low rise buildings.  He conducted a survey of the damage earlier today and shared his findings.

“Suffice to say, we examined damage in two areas – Newberry gas station and the Kanapaha apartment building – and we find no evidence of a tornado-type damage to the structures or to the trees,” Prevatt said in an email to WRUF Weather.

It’s important to remember that thunderstorms of all sizes and strength, even those that aren’t warned as being “severe”, can produce strong wind gusts with  little warning.  This is especially true in Florida where they develop quickly during the heating of the afternoon and along fast-moving sea breeze fronts.

 

Original story posted Sunday night…

Many residents of North-Central Florida will be spending their Monday cleaning up from Sunday’s thunderstorms that produced significant tree and structural damage to some neighborhoods.  One person was injured in Alachua County near the town of Newberry from what was reported as a possible tornado.  This report, along with many others, were still coming in from the Alachua County Emergency Management as of 10 pm Sunday.  The list includes several trees that fell onto vehicles, homes and apartments, displacing some residents in an apartment complex near the town of Archer.  The National Weather Service could not verify Sunday evening if there was indeed a tornado that hit the town of Newberry, but radar data suggested the damage might have been caused by powerful straight-line winds estimated to be between 50 and 60 mph.

Reports as of 10pm Sunday

  • 8:17 pm – Alachua County emergency manager reporting there was a lightning strike survivor at 2706 NW 245th DR in Newberry
  • 8:15 pm – one person injured at an apartment complex in Newberry where trees and power lines were reportedly downed by a possible tornado
  • 8:15 pm – multiple reports from emergency management of structural damage at 10 NW 25th street in the town of Newberry (Alachua County) where a building suffered moderate damage and a gas station canopy toppled over
  • 6:15 pm – public report of a tree falling into a house near I-75 at the Archer Road exit with trees down in the area
  • 6:15 pm – strong winds near Gainesville caused downed power lines
  • 6:05 pm – trees downed near Miconopy from strong wind gusts along US 441 near Paynes Prairie
  • 6:00 pm – minor flooding along northwest 10th avenue in Gainesville.
  • 5:55 pm – WRUF Weather reported pea sized hail near UF campus in Gainesville
  • 5:10 pm – trees were downed on a campground in Juniper Springs in Marion County
  • 4:20 pm – numerous trees and power powerlines fell along State Road 19 near Silver Lake Dr. in Putnam County
  • 4:15 pm – downed trees and power lines were reported near Satsuma in Putnam County
  • 4:15 pm - trees fell on power lines and a car near Theressa. a outdoor shed also blown over
  • 2:30 pm – dime to Nickel-sized hail was reported near Middleburg in Clay County

 

Damage to a gas station in Newberry from Sunday’s storms. Photo credit: Lindsay Rodriguez

The combination of heat, humidity, and a well-defined Atlantic coast sea breeze triggered the first round of severe weather on Sunday in North Florida. A complex of strong storms developed along a line from Lake City to Crescent City by mid-afternoon.  This complex drifted south and produced wind gusts close to 60 MPH, confirmed reports of penny to nickel sized hail, and numerous cloud to ground lightning strikes through Clay, Putnam, Bradford and eastern Marion counties.  Closer to sunset, another disturbance moved out of the panhandle and interacted with rain-cooled boundaries from the earlier storms to ignite new severe thunderstorms along and just west of the I-75 corridor.  These storms produced intense cloud-to-ground lightning, very heavy rain, pea to marble size hail, and the winds estimated at close to 60 mph that caused considerable damage.

We covered the severe weather event live on WRUF-TV and tracked the storms in real-time on WRUFWeather.com. We encourage everybody to seek shelter indoors and away from windows during a thunderstorm.   And we always appreciate you safely sending in your reports or photos of any damage.  The easiest way for us to pass those along is through Twitter.  Use #WeatherTogether and send them to @WRUFWeather.  You can also contact us via email, Facebook,

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Recent Heavy Rain Likely Cause of Sinkhole in Alachua County

A large sinkhole opened in a field Monday near Newberry Road in Jonesville next to the Campus USA Credit Union.  Alachua County Environmental Protection Director Chris Bird said he heard the sinkhole may have opened up on a farm, but is not certain. Bird is still waiting for the field report to come back, but said sometimes the weight of the rainwater in certain areas can become concentrated and cause the ground to collapse. He added that sometimes collapse can occur in within storm water basins, especially in the western parts of the county.

Sinkholes are formed by erosion, much like when sand erodes on a beach. When water from the aquifer or water from excess rainfall seeps into the ground, oxygen from the water combines with limestone in the ground to form an acid. This acid helps to eat away and erode limestone and other layers below the Earth’s surface. Once enough erosion occurs under the surface, and the weight of the surface becomes too much for the ground to hold, a sinkhole forms. When excess amounts of rainfall occur, like what happened this past weekend in Gainesville, the excess rain speeds up the erosion process.

Thankfully, WRUF Weather is forecasting a nice stretch of dry weather for a few days, which will hopefully mitigate the current situation and keep more from forming.

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