Though Florida isn’t quite in a drought, it has been “abnormally dry,” observed WKMG meteorologist Tom Sorrells.
But the state seems to like to do things in showy fashion. So that could change this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
The service in Miami warned of several hazards for Saturday, April 10, and Sunday, the 11th.
Because of the dryness the last several weeks, there was an elevated fire weather risk on Saturday. Though unrelated, there’s also a high risk of rip currents along Broward and Palm Beach county beaches, the service warns in a hazardous weather outlook.
A tornado touched down in Florida’s Bay County from Panama City Beach to Lynn Haven around 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning, according to the Panama City News Herald. The Panama City Beach Government Facebook page posted images of a leveled convenience store and house on Front Beach Road and Wells Street.
Damage to a house and Blu Convenient Store on Front Beach Road and Wells Street. At least three people escaped from...
WFTV meteorologist George Waldenberger posted images of a waterspout moving ashore in Panama City Beach Saturday morning.
Wind gusts up to 85 mph were reported in Fort Walton Beach, according to WPLG meteorologist Luke Dorris.
Strong to severe thunderstorms are also possible for South Florida Sunday as a cold front approaches the area. Funnel clouds are a possibility from the strong cluster that is expected to move south over the area in the late morning to late afternoon.
But CBS4 meteorologist Jennifer Correa already tracked “strong storms” in Florida’s Panhandle Saturday.
Panhandle flood warning, tornado watch
Indeed, by mid-morning Saturday, some 4 inches of rain had fallen in Pensacola and the weather service has issued a flash flood warning through 11:45 a.m. Saturday for southeastern Baldwin County and southern Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
A tornado watch was issued for parts of Tallahassee and the Big Bend area of Florida’s Panhandle through 2 p.m. Saturday by the National Weather Service.
At 10:55 a.m. a line of severe thunderstorms, with wind gusts to 60 mph, made conditions nasty along a line extending from Chattahoochee to 10 miles west of Apalachicola and were moving east at 40 mph, the service said.
Forecasters predicted that Gainesville could see some severe thunderstorms Saturday afternoon into the evening, followed by an 80% chance of rain Sunday.
Florida’s Sunday storms
Sunday, South Florida, Bradenton and Orlando start to see some of the action, with thunderstorm and rain chances in the 80% to 60% range.
“Lighting, damaging wind, hail and a possible tornado,” are among the hazards, the weather service warned.
As we head south, into the Florida Keys, the severity lessens. Currently, there are no weather warnings for Key Largo to Key West, but Monroe County still has a 50% chance of rain Sunday.
As for the cold front, look for temperatures South Florida and the Tampa Bay area to be in the low 70s and highs in the low- to mid-80s. The Panhandle and Gainesville will be cooler, with lows in the upper 50s and highs in the 80s.
The rain could persist into Monday, with a 60% chance during the day and 30% in the evening before drying out again for the rest of the week, according to the weather service.