Hold on to your hat, find the rain gear, and secure those Christmas decorations! A powerful front is about to blow through Alachua County Thursday night. It will be the strongest front the region has seen in over a year, with a temperature drop of nearly 50 degrees expected from Thursday to Friday night. The arrival of the cold air will be marked by gusty winds and strong thunderstorms.
Winds immediately behind the front Thursday evening will be sustained between 15 and 25mph, with gusts to 30mph possible.
Although the actual front will not get here until later in the evening Thursday, signs of its approach will be apparent Thursday afternoon. The day will start warm and sunny, with a high near 80 degrees. However, clouds will begin increasing late in the afternoon and winds will pick up out of the south to around 20 mph, making it apparent that something dramatic could be unfolding. In the wake of the front, winds could be even higher Thursday night, possibly gusting to 30 mph at times.
Futuretrack model data of what the radar could look like around 8pm Thursday evening.
The front will move through quickly. The first chances of showers and thunderstorms will be near the Nature Coast around 6pm. Showers and thunderstorms are likely reach Alachua county by 8pm with heavy rain, some lightning and very gusty winds. The storm is moving quickly and most of the rain and thunder will have subsided by 10pm. Some downpours will be heavy, though, and we are expecting about a half inch of rain in all. Minor wind damage is also possible should a stronger storm hit your neighborhood. We recommend that motorists should exercise caution when the storms arrive, and pedestrians should head inside at any sign of lighting or thunder.
WRUF will be tracking the storms live on WRUF-TV6, or on-line and on Twitter @GatorWeather.