A ‘strong cold front’ is coming that could turn Florida nasty, including tornado threat

UPDATE: Severe storms and squall line in the Deep South Thursday escalates storm threat for Florida, Carolinas on Friday.

This recent brace of hot summer days and nights during Florida’s spring is about to take a chill break.

According to a hazardous weather alert issued by the National Weather Service in Miami on Wednesday, a strong cold front is forecast to move through South Florida on Friday afternoon, bringing a 60 percent chance of showers and storms.

“A few strong storms may be possible as this front moves through the region on Friday into early Saturday,” forecasters predict.

“Strong cold front” in Miami terms in late April means lows in the upper 60s and highs around 78 degrees Sunday afternoon are on tap — and that should feel nice after some sweltering afternoons of late.

But other parts of Florida could be in for nastier, colder weather by the weekend.

The Bradenton region is under a hazardous weather outlook between Thursday night and Saturday morning. Some of the likely storms could produce damaging winds “with a few tornadoes possible” and locally heavy rains and frequent lightning strikes expected, the National Weather Service said. The low will be 59 on Saturday morning, according to the weather service.

And sorry, Disney and SeaWorld visitors. You may be getting wet as you test out Disney’s new strollers policy or SeaWorld’s new “Sesame Street” attraction.

Orlando could see isolated lightning storms on Thursday afternoon ahead of the approaching front, meteorologists at the National Weather Service say. While these storms are predicted to be scattered and fast-moving, the Friday morning line of bangers on forecast models suggest these could be “strong to severe” as they “race southwest to northeast across east central Florida.”

The primary threat, forecasters say, will be damaging straight line winds followed by frequent lightning strikes, heavy rain and hail. “A brief tornado or two will be possible,” too, in the Orlando area.

“A wind advisory may be necessary for all of east central Florida,” Orlando forecasters warn, along with an elevated threat for strong, “life-threatening,” rip currents through the late week at its beaches.

The Tampa area could also see a tornado or two as the cold front moves through the state.

Jacksonville, meantime, had no associated severe weather alerts on Friday, but the area can expect a low of 52 degrees Saturday night.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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