LAKE MARY, Fla. - A cold front has combined with upper-level energy and powered further by a strong jet stream high above, to produce a tornado outbreak on this Thursday night across the Deep South.
This extends from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and even the westernmost Panhandle counties of Florida, but the acute severe threat will end late tonight, followed by general heavy rain across the southeast tomorrow with only a few severe storms possible across Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.
This tumultuous pattern is a sure sign of the changing season, as the annual battle initiates as winter tries to hang on. This scenario plays out over the Gulf Coast region for several months each spring before the heat rolls in by May.
WHEN ARE THE STORMS EXPECTED TO BE AROUND ORLANDO?
The same system is heading for Orlando Friday, but its severe side will weaken almost entirely before it arrives. That's good news for our area, but the timing of the rain is not great for any weekend outdoor activities. The first storms arrive late Thursday night with a brief potential for a severe storm north of the metro area.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST WEATHER THREATS?
Isolated damaging wind gusts would be the main severe threat, but heavy rain could lead to a few spots of flooding in poor drainage areas.
HOW LONG WILL THE STORMS LAST AROUND ORLANDO?
The greatest surge of rain arrives Friday and may result in a rainy morning commute to round-out the workweek. As the cold front arrives early Friday, it will stall as they often do this time of year in Florida when Spring wins the battle. The front's slow-down will lead to high rain totals across parts of Central Florida as the front focuses moisture over the region over a relatively long duration. While it won't rain 100% of the time, there will be a high chance for rain the entire time Friday, Saturday with potential lingering through Sunday.
These impacts have lead to Thursday night and Friday being declared as a "FOX 35 Impact Day."
Eventually, the stalled front will wash out, losing any discernable characteristics as a boundary between air masses and therefore rain chances will dissipate Sunday and Monday. Don't let your guard down because next week, we do it all over again as a new front threatens on Wednesday. It appears March is going out like a lion, not a lamb.