PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB-TV) – We’ve reached Thursday, and as mentioned prior to today, an active pattern has begun. Rain chances will remain elevated through Monday due to an interesting weather set-up. Flash flooding remains the biggest concern at this time.

THE SET-UP: A trough (typically the same weather pattern that results in a cold front forming) will dig into the southeast. However, a piece of this trough will detach and form what’s known as a cut-off low. It’s a smaller area of low pressure that develops from the larger system. This cut-off low will meander across the northern Gulf of Mexico Thursday night through the weekend. At the same time, an upper level ridge to our east/southeast will be building up. Both systems will enhance flow from southwest to northeast, creating a stream of moisture that is expected to flow from the Gulf of Mexico to Florida. Because of this pattern, we are forecasting higher rain chances for a better coverage of scattered showers and storms across the Panhandle.

Today, we’ll see the rain impacting coastal locations first. Rain chances will rise inland closer to the afternoon with convective pop-up showers and storms (think typical summertime pattern, just enhanced coverage with ample moisture to work with). Friday and Saturday, there will be a better set-up for heavier rainfall and the threat of flash flooding.

PREDICTED RAINFALL TOTALS: Forecast models continue to shift higher rain amounts closer to the Big Bend. I have adjusted my forecast, too, now calling for 3-6 inches of rain in that area and along the Forgotten Coast. For our central and western counties, I’m forecasting 1-3 inches of rain. Coastal locations will receive the higher end of forecast rainfall totals. I am not predicting a complete washout with this set-up. While I do think we’ll have some good periods of wet weather, there will be some breaks. So it’s really more of an on-and-off pattern.

POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Flash flooding will be a threat as early as Thursday evening. Extra caution is urged during commutes the next few days. DO NOT cross any roadways taking on water. “Turn around, don’t drown.”

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TROPICS:

As of 6 a.m. CDT, Earl is a Category 2 hurricane moving north/northeast. Earl will continue curving away from the East Coast up to the north/central Atlantic Ocean. There will be no impact to land from Earl in the next 5 days, other than Bermuda as it brushes by the island.

Meanwhile, Danielle has deteriorated a bit and is back to tropical storm status. This storm is moving northeast and will do a loop in the Atlantic before moving close to Spain early next week. 

There are also two tropical waves to watch, currently moving away from Africa. One is given a 70% chance of tropical formation in the next two-to-five days (indicated by red on the map above). This wave’s forecast path is similar to that of Earl’s, moving northwest before likely curving north/northeast back into the central Atlantic. The other wave has a low chance of tropical development (0-30%) over the same timespan. Both waves are worth a watch, but long-range forecasting models show no real threat to not only our area but also the United States over the next 10 days.