UPDATE: Storms should clear out before SunFest

Update 11 a.m.: National Weather Service meteorologists are expecting today’s storms to clear out of Palm Beach County before SunFest doors open at 5 p.m.

The forecast has been a tricky one because a lot depended on how swiftly the showers move through.

Related: SunFest weekend forecast: Sunscreen or umbrellas for Blink 182?

While some rain may be on the back side of the cold front, which was preceded by the storms, it shouldn’t be too heavy or widespread.

“Three to five more hours and we’ll be looking at a much different scenario,” said NWS meteorologist Steven Ippoliti. “In general, most of this looks to be clearing out by 4 p.m.”

Video: Jaw dropping images of today’s storms in Palm Beach County.

Update 9:50 a.m.: The showers are moving east at about 15 to 20 mph with gusty winds up to 35 mph.

Moderate to heavy rain is expected with as much as 2 inches in some areas where the heaviest showers stall.

Previous story: A line of showers ahead of a cold front is moving through Palm Beach County this morning with gusty winds up to 34 mph and lightning already hitting northwestern and central areas of Palm Beach County.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Heavy lightning with today’s storms. Radar image as of 8:50 a.m.

This morning, meteorologists believe coastal Palm Beach County will still be able to heat into the mid to high 80s, which means more robust thunderstorms are possible this afternoon as the front passes.

“A few 90 degree readings may even be possible. If precipitation holds off, there may be some additional regeneration of convectin as it approaches the east coast, especially in Palm Beach County,” forecasters wrote this morning.

 

The storms are not expected to bring severe weather, but increasing winds in the middle atmosphere will allow for gusty, fast-moving storms, “especially if we see more peaks of sun.”

“We cannot rule out the possibility of a stray storm or two,” said Tony Reynes, lead forecaster for the NWS in Miami. “This will be a slow mover, so we’re not expecting it to move across and clear the area quickly. We are expecting showers to last most of the day and after the front passes.”

The system is expected to be through the state by early Saturday morning. The map below shows the front’s location at 2 p.m. today.

Update: Significant weather advisory for Palm Beach County expires

Update 7:42 p.m.: The significant weather advisory for southeastern Palm Beach County was allowed to expire.

But thunderstorms with lightning are still moving through Palm Beach County with showers possible into the overnight hours.

Today’s thunderstorms developed along a frontal boundary north of Lake Okeechobee interacting with moist warm air in South Florida.

Update 6:35 p.m.: A significant weather advisory has been issued for southeastern Palm Beach County, including Delray Beach and Boca Raton.

Forecasters are tracking a line of strong thunderstorms with rotation that could produce funnel clouds.

Damaging winds of up to 55 mph and small hail are possible with these storms. The advisory is in effect until 7:45 p.m.

 

Update 6:30 p.m.: The National Weather Service has allowed the tornado warning to expire for East and Central Palm Beach County.

Update 6:05 p.m.: A strong line of thunderstorms extending from 7 miles west of North County Airport to 8 miles southwest of Lion Country Safari has triggered a severe thunderstorm warning for northeastern Palm Beach County.

Locations impacted include West Palm Beach, Wellington, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens and Riviera Beach.

The thunderstorm warning is in conjunction with the tornado warning for areas including Loxahatchee Groves, Royal Palm Beach and The Acreage. The tornado warning is in effect until 6:30 p.m.

UPDATE 5:55 p.m.: A tornado warning has been issued for northern-central Palm Beach County until 6:30 p.m. The areas that might see tornadoes include Loxahatchee Groves, Royal Palm Beach and The Acreage.

The National Weather Service is warning of possible quarter-size hail, and are calling this a “dangerous storm” that will be near Lion Country Safari around 6:30 p.m.

The line of thunderstorms with the potential tornado is moving east at 35 mph.

Forecasters are warning people to take cover in areas where storms are heavy.

Update 4:30 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a special marine warning for Lake Okeechobee as strong thunderstorms extend over a northwestern portion of the lake moving southeast.

Wind gusts of 39 mph or higher are possible. Frequent lightning, and heavy downpours are also expected.

Previous story: Showers and some strong thunderstorms are possible in South Florida today as daytime heat combines with a frontal boundary limping through the state.

The National Weather Service in Miami said “robust” showers are forecast, especially after the sea breezes kick up this afternoon.

Gusty winds and heavy rain is also possible as the slow-moving boundary may linger over some areas. Rain chances jump from 41 percent at 1 p.m. to 70 percent at 2 p.m.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Up to 1.19 inches of rain could fall in parts of western Palm Beach County and south of Lake Okeechobee, while the Weather Prediction Center has coastal areas with up to 0.75 inches.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., is forecasting thunderstorms for Florida, but did not have any part of the state in a threat level area as of 7 a.m.

But slight cooling aloft triggered by a mid-level trough could mean a more unstable atmosphere, NWS forecasters said.

Related: How hail is formed 

Warm surface air shooting into a frigid upper atmosphere is one recipe for thunderstorms. A muggy overnight where temperatures dropped only into the mid-70s in West Palm Beach means daytime temperatures could heat up quickly.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

“Daytime heating in combination with the frontal boundary and upper trough in this rich atmosphere should bring robust coverage of showers and storms as we head into the afternoon, especially as both sea breezes get going,” NWS forecasters in Miami wrote in their morning discussion.

 

Just in: Showers dissipate for now but still watching cold front

Update 1:50 p.m.: A line of showers that was expected to hit Palm Beach County at about 2 p.m. has dissipated, but forecasters said they are still watching for activity as the cold front nears.

The storms, which may have spawned a tornado in Okeechobee County, are ushering in cooler, drier air that will drop temperatures overnight into the 50s and 60s. The high Friday is expected to be about 5 degrees below normal, staying in the mid-70s.

National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Scharfenberg said as temperatures continue to heat up today, there may still be some spotty showers this afternoon.

Update 12:10 p.m.: Palm Beach County is now included in an area that forecasters believe could experience severe weather this afternoon.

The Storm Prediction Center has the region in its marginal category for the possibility of damaging storms. The marginal category is the lowest level on a five-tier scale ranking severe weather, but the storms moving south ahead of a cold front did  include damaging winds and hail in the Space Coast.

National Weather Service forecasters believe the line of storms will reach Wellington at at about 1:45 p.m. moving to the coast by 2:30 p.m.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Miami are not expecting the storms, which also triggered a tornado warning north of Port St. Lucie, will be as robust as they move further south.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

But NWS meteorologist Kevin Scharfenberg said because they were going to hit Palm Beach County near the hottest part of the day, there is a concern for spotty thunderstorms.

“We’re not looking for too much severe weather, but we’re keeping an eye on it,” Scharfenberg said. “There is some discussion that the area of concern will move further south because of how they storms have already acted up.”

In Fort Drum, emergency managers and the National Weather Service are reporting possible tornado damage with flipped campers, downed trees and sheet metal lodged in trees.

Update 9:25 a.m.: The National Weather Service in Miami has moved forward the timing of today’s showers and thunderstorms, with rain beginning in Palm Beach County as early as mid-morning.

Thunderstorm chances increase throughout the day into early evening.

The Storm Prediction Center is has also moved the “marginal” threat are for severe weather closer to Palm Beach County.

A tornado warning was issued in Okeechobee County this morning with reports of up to 1-inch hail.

Radar image as of 9:30 a.m. April 6, 2017.

 

Previous story: A cold front pushing through Florida today will come with thunderstorms, some of which may be severe.

The Storm Prediction Center is giving areas of the Treasure Coast a marginal risk of severe weather, while Palm Beach County is forecast to see more mild storms beginning at about 2 p.m. and lasting through evening.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

But with the marginal area just north of Lake Okeechobee, no one should rule out the possibility of more severe weather pushing south.

The low pressure system dragging the cold front through Florida was responsible for 10 tornadoes Wednesday in the southeast, including reports of high wind and hail in North Florida.

“A few scattered showers and thunderstorms will still be possible during the day with diurnal instability as the front moves through the area,” National Weather Service forecasters in Miami wrote in their morning discussion.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

That means high temperatures that will reach nearly 90 degrees again today could cause enough instability in the atmosphere to spawn some storms.

The cold front is expected to be through South Florida by late tonight with “abundant” drier cooler air behind it.

Related: Protect yourself from lightning by knowing myth from fact

Satellite imagery from 5:45 a.m. Thursday

Tonight, temperatures will drop into the 60s along the coast and the 50s inland.

Friday morning should have the coldest temperatures, with 50s along the coast and 40s inland.

Forecasters are also cautioning residents that gusty southwest winds and low relative humidity will make for an enhanced risk of wildfires. About 70 percent of Palm Beach County is in a moderate drought.

The NWS has all of South Florida under a fire weather watch between 7 a.m. Friday and 10 p.m Friday.

While heavy rain may fall in some areas today, there isn’t expected to be enough to make up for an unusually parched dry season.

“The cold front will bring a chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms today, but is very unlikely to bring widespread significant rainfall,” forecasters in Miami wrote this morning.

According to the Weather Prediction Center, between 0.25 inches and 0.50 inches is possible over the next 24 hours.

 

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AccuWeather predicts 3 storm landfalls in U.S. this hurricane season

Hurricane experts at the Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather are predicting 14 named storms this hurricane season, with three making U.S. landfalls.

Eight of the storms are forecast to be hurricanes, four of which could be major hurricanes. A major hurricane is considered one that is Category 3 or stronger.

AccuWeather released its 2016 hurricane forecast this morning.

Dan Kottlowski, AccuWeather’s lead hurricane forecaster, said one wildcard in this year’s forecast is a cold area of ocean in the northern Atlantic.

If the cooler water migrates southward across the eastern Atlantic and into the tropical cyclone breeding grounds, it will lower sea surface temperatures, limiting storm development.


“This area of colder water started to show up a few years ago and has become larger and more persistent during the past couple of years,” Kottlowski said. “The big question is whether we will go into a La Niña, which is what we’re anticipating right now.”

La Niña is characterized by less wind shear over the Atlantic, meaning more hurricanes could form.

A strong El Niño during the 2015 hurricane season helped protect the U.S. from storms by cutting them down before they could form.

“It’s possible we could flip flop from one extreme to the other, from below-normal seasons the past three years to an above-normal year in 2016,” Kottlowski said.