I got off to a late start for the severe storm event across central FL earlier this afternoon. Severe thunderstorms, some being embedded supercells, were already ongoing with tornado warnings across the greater Tampa Bay region. I finally got into the area when the line of storms were moving well into Polk County. Once I got into position, the line had developed more into a bowing line of storms, with embedded mini supercells, and was racing eastward across the central FL counties. I let a weaker cell move over me on SR 60 in eastern Polk County to allow me to get closer to the southern end of the bowing cell.
I stopped along the highway at the Kissimmee River bridge, and this is where I shot the following pictures. You can see the southern end of the cells screaming eastward, with vivid colors of the hail core just behind the leading edge. Then I was overtaken with very strong straight-line winds from the west-northwest, so I quickly packed up and blasted back east to get ahead of the storm. I chased east along with the cell until the Indian River County line, where decided there wasn’t much organization left with the storm.
I ended up going southwest into Glades County in hopes that new thunderstorm development would take place, but a pretty significant outflow boundary had pushed well south shutting down the good inflow. Plus, surface winds ahead of the outflow boundary also began to veer more to the southwest reducing convergence. I ended the day in Highlands County waiting around for some squall-line lightning at sunset, but instability at this point was nil.
Well, the last three days have been an impressive change from all the drought and non-stormy weather that Florida has seen since last Fall. First with the sea-breeze thunderstorms in the northern Everglades on Tuesday, to the big severe squall line event in the greater Orlando region yesterday. Things look to calm down going into the weekend, but possible more severe storms on tap for northern Florida next week, and a possible significant severe weather outbreak for the lower Mississippi Valley Sun-Mon. I might make the trip if the timing is right.