Rain chances rising and Suncoast weather pattern shift underway

John Scalzi with First Alert Weather
John Scalzi with First Alert Weather
Published: Jul. 17, 2021 at 4:32 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Two significant changes are taking place in the atmosphere over the Suncoast. The first is the increase in the amount of moisture that is available to produce rain. This change is noticeable today in the number and strength of the storms on our Suncoast radar. As moisture increases the stability of the atmosphere is reduced and stronger thunderstorms are easier for the skies to produce. While severe weather is not in today’s forecast, the greater instability could lead to more rain coverage and a few gusty storms near the coast and in coastal waters as the evening approaches. Boaters will need to watch for this.

The second change will be slower to occur and the first signs will be apparent tomorrow. We are in a generally east wind flow on the Suncoast, which tends to push storms near the coast in the later afternoon. Starting Sunday a slow change to southerly, and eventually, southwesterly winds on Monday, will start. This shift in wind direction is due to the drift of high pressure to our north moving south of us by early next week. As it makes its travel it will be positioned just about over top of us tomorrow and thus our winds will be light. That means slow and somewhat random storm motion. By afternoon the storms will build inland along the sea breeze and then spread in possibly random motion due to the interaction of various storm outflows.

By Monday a more vigorous and steady southwest flow will establish and last several days. This flow pattern will favor a few morning showers near the coast. Then most storm activity will shift well inland later in the afternoon and evening, leaving the coast dry later in the day.

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