Florida severe weather outlook: Tornadoes and damaging winds possible Friday


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – It’s looking increasingly likely Florida will be on the tail end of a multiday severe weather event with all forms of bumpy weather possible, including tornadoes.

You might notice some change in the air already. Since a cold front left us with some crisp and cool weather to start the week, the heat and humidity have slowly been on the rise.

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Come Friday, the atmosphere should be primed for some showers and thunderstorms to break out ahead and along our next cold front.

The Storm Prediction Center has expressed a good deal of confidence about severe weather come Friday, placing much of the state under a marginal to slight risk. All types of active weather are possible, including waterspouts in the Gulf of Mexico, tornadoes, damaging winds and hail.

Let’s break it down.

Severe weather timing

The main American weather model, the GFS, has been consistent in recent days showing a line of showers and storms approaching the Florida Gulf Coast by midday Friday at the earliest.

Expect activity to first roll into Citrus and Hernando counties northward first, then into parts of Tampa Bay and points south thereafter.

Another model, the NAM, has a similar line of thunderstorms approaching at about the same timeframe.

Severe weather impacts

The Tampa Bay region is under a slight risk for severe thunderstorms on Friday. Although not highlighted on this map, an enhanced risk exists across parts of the Carolinas where ingredients for severe storms are greater.

Still, it’s not out of the question a few storms could get their act together and be on the stronger side in the Sunshine State. Before the line of storms impact land, a few could spawn waterspouts over the gulf.

A tornado risk exists over land, as well, but the threat might transition to more of a straight-line damaging wind risk into inland Florida. Hail could be possible, too.

And then there’s the water risk: Expect heavy rainfall that could spur minor flooding in spots, and stiff winds out of the south-southwest could create some coastal flooding.

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