A dangerous squall line of thunderstorms is expected to approach the Florida Panhandle Thursday night, then sweep across the entire Florida Peninsula Friday.
The greatest risk to life and property from this event will come from tornadoes and straight-line winds in the Florida Panhandle that occur while most residents are normally asleep. The Storm Prediction Center says a few strong tornadoes may develop in the western Florida Panhandle in the overnight hours. As the line of storms moves eastward toward the Big Bend and Peninsula early Friday, straight-line winds may be powerful enough to uproot trees and damage some structures, with the potential for a few brief tornadoes also continuing along the line.
Most likely arrival times Thursday Night
- Pensacola - 10 pm to 2 am CDT
- Panama City - 2 to 6 am CDT
Most likely arrival times Friday
- Tallahassee - 7 to 10 am EDT
- Lake City - 10 am to 1 pm
- Jacksonville - 1 to 4 pm
- Gainesville - 10 am to 2 pm
- Tampa - Noon to 3 pm
- Orlando - 2 to 5 pm
- Ft. Myers/Naples - 3 to 6 pm
- Melbourne - 3 pm to 6 pm
- Miami/West Palm/Ft Lauderdale - 8 pm to 11 pm
Forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center have been highlighting the potential hazard for several days, and the approaching storm system has already proven destructive. More than 120 reports of large hail, wind damage or tornadoes were reported Wednesday in the central U.S.
Before the storms arrive, The National Weather Service also says south to southeast winds may gust between 30 and 40 mph because of the interactions between the approaching storm system and the strong area of high pressure in the Atlantic Ocean. The front is expected to clear South Florida Friday night, leaving behind a much cooler, less humid - and more stable - air mass for the weekend.