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Heavy Rain And A Couple Of Strong Storms Possible Saturday Into Saturday Evening

Photo: Megan Borowski/FPREN

Now that the unseasonably cold, frosty weather of Thursday morning has passed, an unsettled weather pattern is on track to bring locally heavy rain and a few strong thunderstorms to much of Central and North Florida to start the weekend.

A front over the Florida Panhandle Friday afternoon is expected to stall near the Interstate 4 corridor for a time on Saturday before finally pushing into South Florida and weakening on Sunday. Temperatures a few thousand feet above the ground are expected to warm up compared to earlier in the week. These warmer temperatures at an altitude in concert with an approaching atmospheric disturbance is likely to bring periods of heavy rain and a few thunderstorms Saturday into Saturday night, mainly from the Big Bend through North and also Central Florida.

Temperatures at ground level are likely to be colder because of the passage of the front. As a result, many of the storms will primarily be rain-producers. The one possible exception is from the Tampa/St. Pete area northward to near the Nature Coast and into Central Florida, where brief strong gusts, hail, or an isolated tornado are possible where the air is somewhat warmer, more humid, and unstable. If this occurs, Saturday night or early Sunday morning would be the most likely time.

Rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches are possible from the Nature Coast to North-Central Florida. Widespread flooding is not currently forecast as many areas of the state have started 2021 with rainfall departures from 30 to 50 percent of normal.

The front is expected to weaken as it moves into South Florida on Sunday, but scattered showers or thunderstorms are still possible. The current outlook for Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa is for dry conditions behind the front Sunday evening with temperatures in the 60s and a light breeze from the east.

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