An approaching storm system promises not only a blustery Thursday afternoon but a risk of damaging winds during the overnight hours.
We’ll start with the afternoon risk, where generally sustained afternoon winds in the Attractions area might be up to 25 MPH, with occasional gusts up to nearly 40 MPH (definitely not a day to plan to experience Characters in Flight at Disney Springs… they’ll likely be grounded most of the afternoon). The winds are on top of near-record high temperatures of around 85 degrees. The wind threat has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Wind Advisory for the afternoon and evening.
...WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM EST THIS EVENING... * WHAT...South winds 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph expected. * WHERE...Inland Volusia, Northern Lake, Orange, Seminole, Southern Brevard, Osceola, Indian River, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Martin, Coastal Volusia, Southern Lake and Northern Brevard Counties. * WHEN...From noon today to 8 PM EST this evening. * IMPACTS...Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects.
The winds remain through the night and are topped off with an approaching storm system. The Storm Prediction Center has pegged the area at a “Slight” risk (risk level 2 of 5) for severe weather overnight. Make sure you have multiple ways to get warnings tonight… cell phone apps, local media, wireless alerts, and NOAA Weather Radio.
As the storms blow through, damaging winds are possible, with the SPC putting us at a 15% to 29% risk of wind gusts that reach severe thunderstorm levels. (You’ll note that the wind risk area matches exactly with the “Slight” risk area… Go back and read parts one and two of our post explaining severe weather outlooks to understand the connection.)
One bit of good news, though it’s not a complete exoneration of the severe weather threat, is that the tornado risk is relatively low, between 2% and 4%. If we do get damaging winds, they’ll be more straight-line rather than rotating. That can mean a wider area of impact, but generally a less-violent event.
Here’s the overall outlook from the National Weather Service:
Hazardous Weather Outlook National Weather Service Melbourne FL 509 AM EST Thu Feb 6 2020 THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA. .DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT. .THUNDERSTORM IMPACT... Scattered to numerous lightning storms are forecast to quickly move eastward across east central Florida tonight, and then sweep offshore Martin and Saint Lucie Counties early Friday morning. While all of east central Florida is at some risk for strong to possibly severe storms, the best chance for damaging wind and or brief tornadoes exists from Lake County to the I-4 corridor and east to the Space Coast late tonight and into early Friday morning. The primary threats will be damaging wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph, and isolated tornadoes. .HIGH WIND IMPACT... A Wind Advisory is in effect this afternoon. Strong southerly winds of 20 to 30 mph with frequent higher gusts of 35 to 40 mph will produce hazardous conditions for boaters on the intracoastal waters and inland lakes. The gusty winds may blow around unsecured objects, and snap off small tree limbs. .MARINE THUNDERSTORM GUST IMPACT... Scattered to numerous storms moving offshore over the Atlantic will be capable of gusts of 40 to 50 knots and occasional to frequent lightning from this evening and into early Friday. .WATERSPOUT IMPACT... Along with the threat of damaging winds, a few waterspouts will be possible tonight as strong to briefly severe storms move offshore the coast and open Atlantic waters. .WIND AND SEA IMPACT... South winds increase overnight early today ahead of an approaching squall line and strong cold front. Strong to severe storms are forecast to move across the waters tonight into Friday morning. Winds and seas hazardous into Friday with south winds 20 to 30 knots by afternoon. Expect gusts to gale force north of Sebastian Inlet this evening into Friday. Seas building to 5 to 8 feet.