7:21PM May 14, 2018

LOW PRESSURE MOVING NORTH IN GULF… The National Hurricane Center has revised the chance of tropical/subtropical storm development downward slightly to a 20-30% chance over the next few days. An area of low pressure continues to produce numerous showers/thunderstorms over and near the Florida Peninsula. Potential local impacts remain the same: Very little in the way of impact is expected other than increased rain chances for Wednesday and for Thursday. Here are your Monday evening headlines…

DEVELOPMENT OR NOT: IMPACTS THE SAME… Whether this system happens to ramp up to tropical or subtropical storm status (or not), our local impacts will remain pretty much the same. Increased rain chances, especially across Butler, Covington, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa counties, are likely on Wednesday and Thursday. There will almost certainly be some thunderstorms involved each day over the next few days, but widespread severe weather is NOT expected.

RADAR CHECKS… If you happen to be headed to an Alabama or northwest Florida beach over the next few days or you’re just out and about across our region, be sure to have a way to check the radar. One way you can keep tabs on the radar is below here in the RZWeather app. The radar tab has a fully interactive radar. Be sure to set up your Alert Settings (in the Alerts tab, bottom right corner) if you haven’t already.

CURRENT INFO: LOW IN GULF… As of 7:15PM on Monday evening, the center swirl of clouds associated with the area of low pressure in the eastern Gulf of Mexico was located 155 miles west-southwest of Downtown Tampa, Florida. The center of the system is drifting erratically, but overall is moving northward slowly. Heavy rain showers and thunderstorms happened today across much of the Florida Peninsula in places like Orlando, Tampa, Cape Canaveral, Ft. Myers, and Ocala.

TUESDAY… I expect increased rain chances due to this surface low pressure area in much of the Florida Panhandle east of Panama City on Tuesday, as well. Places like Marianna, Port Saint Joe, Apalachicola, Tallahassee, and Gainesville all have a significant chance of rain and thunderstorms on Tuesday. There will be a steep “rain chance gradient” in place across south Alabama and northwest Florida on Tuesday, meaning folks in west Alabama have a much lower chance of rain compared to communities farther to the east. If you’re in Covington, Butler, Okaloosa, or Santa Rosa counties on Tuesday, your rain chance is the highest in our local area.

WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY… Rain chances will again be highest in the eastern half of our local area as the area of low pressure moves by to our east. The good news for south Alabama and northwest Florida is that the center of this system will likely pass to our east, putting our area on the “good” west side. This means the tornado threat will be very low, if not zero, for our area. If any tornado threat does develop because of this system, it will happen Wednesday and Thursday over southern Georgia and the central part of the Florida Panhandle (likely east of the Apalachicola River, roughly). A tornado threat is very questionable at this point, and we note the Storm Prediction Center has not outlined any threat areas in the southeastern U.S. in a tornado risk zone for Wednesday.

RIP CURRENT RISK… The National Weather Service in Mobile has all Alabama and northwest Florida beaches in their “moderate risk” zone for potentially deadly rip currents. I wouldn’t be shocked if some northwest Florida beaches moved to red flags over the next few days as this surface low pressure area approaches from the south. There will be some sunshine at the beaches over the next few days, but storms will become likely in the afternoon/evening hours.

My next forecast update will be in the RedZone Weather morning video that will be posted by 7:15AM on Tuesday. Let me know if you have questions. Have a great evening!

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