South Florida weather: 90 degrees with a chance of hail

South Florida will be slightly warmer than normal, hitting up to 90 degrees in coastal Palm Beach County with just a 20 percent chance of rain.

But even with that blazing heat, hail is being forecast with the strongest thunderstorms this afternoon, mostly in the interior parts of the region.

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How’s that?

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Pablo Santos, the meteorologist in charge of the Miami office of the National Weather Service, said frigid temperatures high in the atmosphere are what’s upping the possibility of hail.

“Any thunderstorm in the summer, thousands of feet inside of it, have ice particles,” Santos said. “On days when the mid-level atmosphere gets colder, the vertical motions in thunderstorms are stronger and that allows them to produce bigger ice particles that have a better chance of reaching the ground.”

The difference in temperatures at the surface and high in the atmosphere controls the strength of updrafts in thunderstorms, to some degree.

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When updrafts are strong, they can suspend the ice particles longer in the sub-freezing temperatures, giving them a chance to increase in size.

That means they have a better shot of reaching the ground as hailstones rather than water.

Incredible shelf cloud in West Palm Beach. Kimberly Miller

Incredible shelf cloud in West Palm Beach.

“Today is one of those days where the conditions are just a little more favorable for that to happen,” Santos said. “Its a slim chance and nothing would be high impact. It’s not out of the norm to have summer thunderstorms producing small hail.”

Otherwise, the forecast for South Florida is warm and drier along the coast with light winds out of the northeast at five to seven mph this afternoon.

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By mid-week, showers get a better chance of forming. Wednesday through Saturday includes about a 50 percent chance of rain occurring in the afternoon hours.

Hail in Lake Worth. Photo by Palm Beach Post photographer Thomas Cordy

Hail in Lake Worth. Photo by Palm Beach Post photographer Thomas Cordy

 

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