Entries in Storm Structure (17)

Thursday
Mar312011

Polk County Florida Slammed By Severe Storms

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.

Greenish hail core.

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.

weakening storm cell.non-rotating wall cloud. 

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.

Wednesday
Mar302011

Palm Beach County Severe Storms Kickoff

Yesterday turned out to be an interesting day, with vivid sea breeze lightning storms across southern Florida. It was the first real sea breeze thunderstorm setup of 2011, and I had to be out there to capture some of them to kick off the Spring season.

Thunderstorm Palm Beach County.

Deep moisture was in place, with cooler temps aloft and a light steering flow. This allowed sea breeze boundaries to develop, and then shortly after, thunderstorms along these boundaries. I mostly focused on the east coast boundary and a outflow boundary moving slowly northward into Palm Beach County. This is where a series of severe storms organized just southeast of Lake Okeechobee.

The first picture was taken of a severe thunderstorm over Belle Glade, FL moving northward along this boundary. I encountered dime size hail and likely 60mph winds in the small town of Pahokee, FL. The lightning was impressive, and I was loving every minute of it. After letting the cell overtake me in Pahokee, I moved north ahead of the cell to Port Mayaca, FL to film a time-lapse of the storm approaching from the south. The lightning display continued to be impressive, and the beautiful shelf cloud structure just added to the view. Twenty minutes later the gust front blasted through my location as the storms began to lose their punch. It was a fantastic day for classic FL storms, and it was a very nice change from the extreme dry and drought conditions most of Florida has been experiencing for months.

Thunderstorm on breeze boundary near Port Mayaca, FL.

Another round of severe storms are possible for today (3/30/11) across Central, Florida. I plan to head north and start the chase day off west of Orlando, and then work my way back south with the storms late into the evening. Thursday (3/31/11) could be another active day for severe weather, so closely keeping tabs on that as well.

Thursday
Mar102011

Storm Stright Line Winds Palm Beach FL Video

The same storm system that brought tornadoes yesterday and on Tuesday to the Deep South, moved through South Florida earlier today. The squall line moved across the southern Florida peninsula during the late morning hours bringing very strong winds and heavy rains.

I was able to get into position near the Canal Point region in western Palm Beach County to film the line of storms. The squall line was moving eastward very quickly and didn’t take long to overtake my location. I shot some scenes as the well developed shelf cloud / gust front approached from the west over Lake Okeechobee. Then, once the winds blasted from the west I moved into Canal Point where I filmed some decent straight-lines winds with heavy rains for a few minutes. These winds snapped a few power poles just east of me on SR98, and also helped to flare up an older smoldering sugarcane fire.

One thing that was good was the welcomed heavy rains that moved through helping to give some relief from the extremely dry conditions lately.