BRIEF RECAP: March 28th - 31st were some very interesting weather related days for parts of Florida at various times as two large scale storm systems poked the SE U.S. West Central Florida bore the brunt of this activity overall, where rainfall TOTALS of all days combined reached up to 12" in one location. There was two other smaller scale systems that hit mainly only Florida on two of these days. The main impacts were strong winds in isolated pockets. Severe sized hail was reported on 3 of the days, but I've found no damage reports related to hail...although some small car dents likely occurred in those few chosen areas where hail met severe criteria size (1" circumference or greater). We can recall there was a Mesocscale Convective System, pictured below:
This system left a surface boundary over South Florida which remained there into the following morning. And as a result, 2 or 3 strong storms (1 severe) formed over South Florida this day. A 2" hail report came in, but the strongest of storms was not reported on by an eyewitness because it developed over an unpopulated area:
There was also a small storm that formed over South Brevard another morning that sent a strong outflow boundary northward. This storm was warned by the National Weather Service, but the worst of it was experienced from Patrick AFB to Cape Canaveral, where surface winds gusted to 49 mph, with no rain away from the storm proper. The lightning was pretty to watch at a distance before sunrise.
Lastly: Two back to back systems hit on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday was mainly a squall line type by closure, but originated quite differently. The West Coast bore the brunt, but the east side got in on the act during the squall line which contained embedded bow echoes.
The number one impact from the squall line was wind, but it also dropped large hailstones as seen here by this Palm Bay stone photo which appeared in the Florida Today paper, submitted by a reader.
We see here in this sounding from the Space Center why the wind was so strong. Note the 'dry layer' in the lower portion of the image where the lines spread apart. Yet they are close together further up in the atmosphere. Cold air was up there. As cold air fell through the drier layer below it, the air parcels accelerated downward..reaching the ground and spreading forward to the storm motion...further enhancing the wind being produced by the storms otherwise. Note that the winds just above ground were nearly 60kts, so it is of no wonder that a wind of 85mph at KSC was measured, as well as 74mph at Orlando International and 65mph in Cape Canaveral and nearly that at PAFB and Melbourne. Who knows what other velocities were felt elsewhere, but they were likely similar considering the amount of damage, some structural, that resulted. Additionally, one waterspout was reported in Sykes Creek in Merritt Island, although that cannot be confirmed. I''m skeptical about the report since I saw the cloud formation that generated the report and was on the river at the time the report reads the waterspout was sited. Here is an image of a suspect part of the bowing line segment that might have been what created the waterspout. It almost looks like a wall cloud. This feature was NOT short-lived...persisting until the storm had moved on and while I was being chased out of the Manatee Viewing Park by 'some sort of guard guy dressed like a bum'. I guess they heard about the wind reports coming out of Orlando and had ample time to go there and chase folks out. Darn. The wind was an interesting spectacle to behold, but in no way was 'life threatening' in open areas. Heck, it barely even rained that much in my location.
The finale came on Thursday with the cold front and strong jet stream level winds aloft. More storm reports came in as shown at the top of this post...with the tornadoes on the west side once again. Rainfall totals were much higher on Thursday...because that 'dry mid level' of Wednesday was absent with a more fully saturated atmosphere. The clouds looked very interesting this morning before the storms moved in...but it would take a true sky reader, appreciando type to recognize how 'interesting' and truly rare this day was. Rains across dead Central were the highest as the boundary was slow to move south until after sunset, with widespread 1.5" -3" reports across Central Florida.
There was a report of hail again in Palm Bay on Thursday, but I was there and only witnessed BBs on the wind shield, more audible than visible.
FORECAST: Pleasant today and tomorrow with WNW-NW winds. Dryer, and gradually warming through tomorrow. Becoming less dry Sunday morning.
SUNDAY: Winds veer more toward the NE to ENE-E-ESE through the day Sunday. Another pleasant day with afternoon cumulus as the atmosphere begins to reload with moisture. Warmer overnight Sunday night. No rain.
MONDAY: SSE -S winds all day, breezy. Becoming humid. A violent storm system and the first tornado outbreak of 2011 is anticipated for part of the Ozarks and Mississippi River Valley Basin...heading in to the far western Florida Panhandle overnight into Tuesday morning. From the looks of it, much of the most violent weather will occur while it is dark and in heavily forested, hilly terrain. This will be a dangerous situation for those folks Monday night into daybreak Tuesday where storm visiblities will be limited to terrain, trees, and darkness.
TUEDAY: Storm System has entered Florida shortly before daybreak. It is guaranteed that the Panhandle will be in a tornado watch before sunrise. Winds becoming SSW inland, remaining almost due south along the coast. Humid!
North Florida: Expect a tornado watch to be in affect over the Panhandle, with a subsequent watch to be issued with its southern extent running from Brooksville to Ormond Beach by mid-morning (this is less likely, but probable).
It is possible that strong to severe weather could occur further south from near Port Charolette up along the west coast, including Tampa Bay, with a secondary area running north of a line from Tampa Bay - Port Canaveral. That would be the most southern extent of strong weather. South of this line, storms will weaken significantly as they move into South Florida during the late afternoon. However, it can't be emphasized enough that this system affecting the Central and Southern Peninsula is still 4 days away...and timing on said events already varies between two of the models by a good 12 hours, as well as the overall intensity of the storm system beginning on Sunday going into Monday while the system will be impacting the Ozarks and Deep South. So in essence, stay tuned to future posts if you are a reader in peninsular Florida.
Happy April Fool's Day!