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Tornado And Flash Flood Risk Continues Monday In Panhandle From Ida

The western half of the Florida Panhandle can expect gusty rain squalls Monday morning that will spread east toward Panama City and Tallahassee by Monday afternoon.

Ida weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning as it moved into southern Mississippi. Despite the former hurricane being more than 200 miles from Florida, Ida's outer bands will continue to pose a tornado and flash flood risk to portions of the Panhandle.

Ida's center of circulation will be making a turn to the north-northeast Monday across Mississippi, while at the same time upper-level winds will cause the rain and wind fields to expand farther east. As a result, despite a lull in activity overnight, the downpours will move back across the western half of the Florida Panhandle Monday morning. The gusty rain squalls will then spread east toward Panama City and Tallahassee by Monday afternoon.


The Flash Flood Watch that was originally issued for Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties has now been expanded east to include Walton, Bay, Holmes, and Washington counties through Tuesday morning. This includes the cities of Pensacola, Destin, Crestview and Panama City. Additional rainfall accumulations of 4 to 7 inches are expected near Pensacola, with 2 to 5 inches of additional rain possible for areas under the watch farther east. The National Weather Service says wet soils in this region, combined with the additional rainfall may lead to flash flooding.


Low-level spin from the nearby circulation of Ida could also aid in the development of a few tornadoes embedded in some of the stronger rain bands. The Storm Prediction Center has placed areas of Florida from Panama City west under a "slight" (level 2 of 5) risk of tornadoes, with a "marginal" risk near Tallahassee and along the Forgotten Coast. The tornado risk is likely to diminish considerably after sunset Monday evening as Ida's circulation moves farther north across the Tennessee Valley.


Elsewhere in the tropical Atlantic basin, there are two tropical systems that have developed and two others with development potential in the next five days. However, none of them are expected to become a threat to the United States or Florida in the next five days. A fetch of tropical moisture associated with the remnants of Ida is forecast to slide east across the northern third of the Sunshine State midweek, leading to higher-than-normal rain chances Tuesday and Wednesday. Aside from this, near-normal late-summer weather conditions are expected to return to most of Florida for the remainder of the week.

Copyright 2021 Storm Center. To see more, visit FloridaStorms.org.

Jeff Huffman is Chief Meteorologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. In addition to his full-time position at the university's radio and television stations, WUFT-FM/TV and WRUF-TV, the latter of which he co-founded, Huffman also provides weather coverage to public radio stations throughout Florida
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