A nice tease to the upcoming wet season.
Yesterday was my first opportunity in May to chase storms here in Florida, with a very active east coast seabreeze boundary from Daytona Beach southward to N.W. Palm Beach County.
Storms developed early over East Central Florida up along the space Coast, which produced several outflow boundaries moving southward late in the day. These boundaries interacted with the East Coast Sea-breeze around the Lake Okeechobee region that set off several more rounds of storms, which is very common.
I wasn't sure where I was going to set up for the afternoon storms as there was so much multi-cluster convection bouncing around, but finally a more isolated cell developed over Central Martin County and caught my attention late in the day. The deep rock-hard convection wasn't hard see just to my east, and I knew that I needed to get underneath that storm as it was slowly propagating down the boundary around 5-10 mph. At this point I was already a little upset with myself knowing I should've been playing the boundary much earlier in the afternoon.
The cell continued to propagate south-southeast down the boundary near Indiantown where I got on the storm and watched it for a good 20 minutes sustain itself. At the same time, an outflow boundary from thunderstorms near Clewiston was racing in from the southwest and was going to interact with my storm, so I opted to head southwest of Indiantown toward Port Mayaca. I got a few miles outside of town with a wide open view over the green sod fields and watched these two boundaries come together.
The convergence was very impressive, with a lot of upward motion directly above, and it wasn't long before the first cloud-to-ground lightning strikes started to flash around me. I knew with poor road options that I was going to get creamed by a new core that was developing overhead, and just searched for a decent spot to park and enjoy the show. The large flat thunderstorm base began to fill with rain curtains as the lightning increased in frequency. It only took about 10 to 15 minutes for the storm to start producing some isolated pea size hail and 40mph winds before transitioning to an outflow dominant storm.
It was all beautiful to me, with the sound of thunder crashing and the smell of tropical afternoon rains. The wet season typically starts in a few weeks, but it sure was a nice teaser for what's to come this summer, and I can't wait. More storms are expected today, and I plan to be out once again along the boundaries to see what mother nature will show off for me. I am also hoping for a few nocturnal lightning photography opportunities for the first time this spring season if any storms can hang on after dark. I'll keep you posted.