Possible tornado, severe weather rattle Jacksonville area


JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Unseasonably warm weather over the last few weeks coupled with a strong cold front was a dangerous combo Saturday night as severe weather rumbled through the area bringing with it a possible tornado near Palm Coast.

According to the National Weather Service and Flagler county emergency management, what appears to have all the markings of a tornado, moved through the area around 7:15 Saturday night. The first touchdown was reported at the intersection of Banner Lane and Bannerwood Lane. A second touchdown may have occured on Brittney Lane in Palm Coast.

Multiple trees were reported down, some on top of houses according to one viewer, along with over 6,000 people without power. A meteorologist with the NWS also reported that roofing material and other debris was lodged into the tops of trees. Other large pine trees had the tops ripped out of them. 

Saturday's abrupt tornado touchdown seemingly came out of nowhere. There were no watches and few indications that severe weather would be an issue. However, very warm weather and a vigorous cold front provided just enough energy to ignite rotating cells. A south wind below a deep rooted southwest flow in the atmosphere coupled with northwesterly winds behind the front caused enough twisting motion in the atmosphere (winds in different directions) to produce a tornado. 

This is a prime example why we say that any thunderstorm is dangerous and any of them can turn severe on a dime. Any severe storm can produce a tornado. 

We're not out of the woods yet either.  Another round of showers and storms will be moving through Jacksonville and all surrounding areas between 8pm and midnight. Severe weather, while possible, should be limited in coverage. In fact, the Storm Prediction Center may issue a severe weather watch for our area by 9pm. If they do, we'll get the word out as quickly as possible.

After midnight, we should catch a small break before more showers and storms in association with the cold front moves through during the pre-dawn hours of Sunday.

If you are headed to the Jags game, we are currently calling for a dry forecast under overcast skies. The seats will be wet but the skies should be dry. The front will have long moved through by 1pm but residual showers are possible. I am fairly confident that most of the game should be dry. 

Much cooler weather will filter into the area with highs Sunday struggling to make the mid 60s. Sunday night areas in southeast Georgia will flirt with the freezing mark. Monday is looking beautiful.