Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekend Weather Update

A wet weekend is forecast statewide. A cold front stalled along the Florida Keys and southern Gulf of Mexico will remain in place today, but plenty of cloud cover north of the front will result in a cloudy and cool day for much of the state, with afternoon temperatures only reaching the upper 40s to mid 50s across North Florida. Highs in the mid 60s to mid 70s are expected across Central Florida, but a warmer airmass under the clouds will result in highs reaching the upper 70s to low 80s across South Florida. A few showers will be possible across portions of the state today as moisture increases across the region, but any shower activity during the day should be light and scattered.

Before the wet weather arrives, a dry and cooler airmass will result in critically low humidity values across much of Northwest Florida this afternoon and Red Flag Warnings are in effect from Leon and Wakulla counties westward to Walton County. Further eastward, Red Flag Warnings are in effect for inland western Suwannee Valley areas, including Madison, Hamilton, Suwannee, Columbia and Gilchrist counties this afternoon.

Rainfall intensity and coverage will increase overnight and into Saturday as a low pressure area in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico moves northeast towards the central and eastern Gulf Coast. This will lift the front over the Florida Straits northward during the day and will result in high rain chances statewide. Periods of heavy rainfall will be possible across North and Central Florida, but the heaviest rainfall amounts are forecast to be along the I-10 corridor. Residents and visitors in the area should use extra caution when driving and remember to 'Turn Around, Don't Drown' when approaching a flooded roadway. Heavy rainfall will begin to taper Saturday night, but unsettled weather conditions into Sunday will keep a chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms. The highest chance for rainfall Sunday will be across the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend.

A River Flood Warning remains in effect for the Apalachicola River near Blountstown and the Choctawhatchee River near Bruce. The Choctawhatchee River at Bruce has finally fallen out of moderate flood stage into minor flood stage and is continuing to recede. The Apalachicola River at Blountstown is also receding. However, heavy rainfall this weekend could reverse these trends. Residents living along rivers with elevated levels should be alert to rising river conditions this weekend.

Strong onshore winds will result in a moderate risk for rip currents along the Southeast Florida coast today. Beachgoers should check with beach patrol before entering the water and swim near lifeguard stations.

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

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