Thursday, December 17, 2009

Severe Weather Outlook for Thursday, December 17

River Flood Warnings in Effect Across Much of the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend Today

A stalled frontal boundary over the southern Florida Peninsula will lift northward today as a low pressure system in the western Gulf of Mexico moves east across the northern Gulf of Mexico today and then over northern Florida on Friday. Scattered showers developing across the state today will become more widespread this evening and overnight as the low approaches the state and its expanding area of rainfall overspreads the region. A few thunderstorms will also be possible, mainly after midnight.

While the potential for severe weather will be greatest on Friday, a few strong or severe storms may occur late tonight over portions of the central and southern Peninsula. The main concerns in these storms will be strong gusty winds and isolated waterspouts or tornadoes.

Rainfall may be heavy at times statewide tonight. Rainfall totals could approach 1 inch across the Peninsula, but rainfall totals of 1-3 inches appear likely for a large portion of the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend, as well as areas north of the state. This potential for heavy rainfall will occur over areas that have already received significant rainfall totals earlier this week. This additional rainfall over very saturated soils will quickly produce additional rises on rivers as well as urban flooding. A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties through Friday morning.

River Flood Warnings remain prevalent across the Florida Panhandle. Currently, six rivers directly affecting Northwest Florida are currently in or near flood stage. One river is expected to rise into moderate to major flood stage. With current forecasts, the Choctawhatchee River near Bruce may experience the most significant amount of flooding and may rise into major flood stage early Saturday and continue to rise throughout the weekend.

Rivers that are at risk of flooding are: Perdido River at Barrineau Park, Escambia River near Century, Big Escambia Creek at Flomaton, Yellow River at Milligan, Choctawhatchee River near Caryville and Bruce, Apalachicola River near Blountstown and Woodruff Dam, and the Aucilla River at Lamont. Please remember to never drive through flooded roadways as most flood-related deaths occur within automobiles. ALWAYS TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN.
Click here to view river elevations.

To access the latest watches, warnings, and advisories from the National Weather Service for your county, please click here.

Weather Images Courtesy of Weather Services International

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