|Supercells and severe storms - Central and South Florida
March 16th & 17th, 2005
|This was the second three-day chase in Florida in 2005. And much better one than the one two weeks ago which ended up being a total
bust you know, one of the chases you drive for 6 hours and when you get there the storms have already dissipated....
Well, this time everything worked out much better and I was very happy for the first real chase of the year. The area of low pressure
sitting in the east-central Gulf and the trailing front across Florida peninsula provided for some nice severe thunderstorms for almost
My thinking was to go intercept the first initiation up north as far as needed and then to follow the front slowly down the peninsula all the
way down back to the Keys. It worked out great.
The first day there was not a whole lot to see since all the precipitation was still off shore.
But on the March 16, we first drove up to Gainsville and then I decided to go back south and east toward Orlando. The first severe
warned cell went up just inland from St. Augustine in North-East Florida. I positioned myself slightly south and soon additional cells
went up just to my east. Unfortunately afternoon Orlando traffic made everything a little complicated. We missed a short-lived tornado
crossing I-95 about 20 miles north-east of us. In this case some 15 min proved to be critical. I still managed to photograph several
severe warned cells and two supercells in the area. When we got to the ideal area the afternoon heating and pretty much most of the
instability was gone as was the vigorous convection.
|The very first good looking cell just east of Orlando, FL that later became a supercell and produced a brief tornado that crossed I-95 south of
|Looking east at some more severe warned cells that were weakening
at this point and exiting over the Atlantic ocean.
|I-95 looking north about 2o minutes after the tornado was reported
in this area. This is one of the weaker but still severe warned cells
that followed shortly.
|Even in Florida when the sun hits the foreground like this with a
storm in the background.....the magic happens.
|The area of updraft. The area of precipitation is just to the left and
out of the picture`s view.
|The last low-topped cell of the day. The picture taken from A1A road in New Smyrna Beach, FL shortly before sunset. Notice the nice and
crisp texture of the main updraft tower. The cell produced a decent amount of lightning before quickly exiting over the ocean.
|The cell with an arrow underneath it is the one producing
the tornado. If you look closely you might be able to spot
the hook. The red line going down across the cell is I-95.
Image courtesy NOAA/NWS.