From late winter showers to sour spring break for parts of Florida

Showers and thunderstorms have Florida in sight early next week, but while the rain will come in handy in battling ongoing drought conditions, its timing won’t be ideal for spring break revelers, according to AccuWeather meteorologists.

A cold front will sweep across the southeast through Sunday, but progress will be slow. The front reached the Florida Panhandle late Friday afternoon, even producing a few tornadoes reported as waterspouts landed along parts of Walton and Bay counties. The front will now take its time pushing southeast through the rest of the state, according to AccuWeather meteorologists.

In doing so, thunderstorms will dampen areas such as Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Daytona Beach, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Michael Youman. This threat will slowly move south and reach places like Fort Myers and Cape Canaveral on Saturday night, Youman added.

During the day on Sunday, showers and thunderstorms are expected to remain largely concentrated in around the southern half of Florida as cities like Jacksonville and Ocala likely dry out. However, a disturbance in the upper layers of the atmosphere could be enough to bring showers again a little further north by Sunday evening.

Although additional extreme weather conditions are not forecast at this time, those planning to hit the beach or participate in outdoor activities should be on the lookout for lightning and seek shelter if needed. , according to Youman. Rain gear may also be required.


Also noteworthy are the temperature drops behind the front in some places as cities like Tampa and Orlando will experience high temperatures dropping from the upper 70s to mid 80s F on Saturday to the lower 60s on Sunday. Those Sunday highs will be 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit below the historic average, creating unusual conditions that might shock even those celebrating spring break, as the Sunshine State doesn’t live up to that moniker.

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While the timing won’t necessarily be the best for anyone planning to go out over the weekend, it will be a welcome and much-needed rainy event. Most of Florida is currently experiencing drought since March 16, according to the United States Drought Monitor, and the vast majority of the Florida peninsula is in the midst of moderate drought, the second level of drought on this scale.

Indeed, Orlando is facing a rainfall deficit of more than 4 inches so far this year as of March 17, receiving just 1.99 inches of rain compared to the normal 6.03. Tampa is even further behind so far in 2023, with just 2.25 inches of rain compared to the year-to-date average of 6.61 inches.

By Monday, much of the remaining shower activity should be offshore, but parts of Florida may continue to experience showers and thunderstorms, especially in far southern areas and along the Atlantic coast. Further drying looks likely on Tuesday as the front moves away.

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