Tornado watches, warnings issued

Forecasters predict heavy rain, possible storms over next 12 hours

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - WJXT Meteorologist Rebecca Barry is tracking potentially dangerous storms that could come through Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia Saturday afternoon and evening.

Here's her latest forecast:

The southern end of the same system that brought deadly tornadoes to the Midwest is now sweeping towards the East Coast. Southeast Georgia will see the stormy weather first, during the afternoon hours. Northeastern Florida can expect later rain and storms, beginning during the evening hours and continuing overnight.

Ahead of the rain, Saturday will be cloudy, windy, and warm. Winds will be sustained at 15-25 mph out of the southwest, with gusts up to 30-40 mph during the afternoon. Temperatures will climb well above our average high for this time of the year, the low 70s, to an afternoon high in the mid 80s.

Southeast Georgia is already under a tornado watch, and the watch may be extended this afternoon to include more counties in our area. A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadic development, and is issued for a large area over a broad amount of time.

This is different from a tornado warning, which means that conditions are probable, and usually there are radar indications of rotation within a storm. Warnings are issued for a small area and a short amount of time.

We are not expecting a tornadic outbreak across our area like we have seen across the Midwest. We have chances for an isolated tornado, especially across Southeast Georgia.

The National Wather Service Storm Prediction Center puts the greater Jacksonville are under a slight risk category for severe weather. We will most likely see severe thunderstorms with very strong straight-line winds. Downed trees and power outages are a definite possibility. We will see widespread flooding, especially to the north of I-10, we expect 2-4 inches of rain overnight.

South of I-10 we will see 1-3 inches of rain. A flood watch is in effect for most of our counties overnight. Flooding could disrupt travel, especially on rural dirt roadways.

During the overnight hours, heavy rain and isolated thunderstorms will be widespread. On Sunday, showers will be moving out of our area by early afternoon, with cold air sinking in behind the storms. This will make for a chilly Sunday and a cold Sunday night.

For the latest forecasts, watches and warnings, tune in to The Local Station or visit

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.