Officials in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties joined the rest of the Florida Panhandle in late January, in bracing for a rare taste of winter precipitation.
A winter storm warning was put into effect for the western Florida Panhandle, as moisture from the Gulf of Mexico joined forces with a major blast of Arctic air. Dave Eversole at the National Weather Service, said that would mean sleet, freezing rain and possibly some snow.
Residents in the Florida Panhandle are bracing for another round of thunderstorms packing heavy rainfall due in by late Friday.
Originating in the Plains and the Midwest, the storms are due in northwest Florida and south Alabama on Friday, and will stick around for the weekend. Don Shepherd at the National Weather Service in Mobile says there’s a 30% chance of rain Friday, 50/50 that evening, and 60% on Saturday. The chance of showers Sunday is expected to be 40%.
Winter precipitation is moving into the Florida Panhandle, the produce of frigid arctic air and Gulf moisture.
Escambia County’s Emergency Operations Center activated at midnight. Emergency Management Chief John Dosh says they’re at level-2, with only key agencies on hand for now.
Throughout the year the Escambia EOC conducts table-top exercises to cover a number of scenarios – hurricanes and other natural and man-made disasters. Dosh says those – and the current winter storm development – are all part of what he calls “consequence management.”
The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season ended Saturday, going out for the Gulf Coast in the same manner as much of its six-month run – rather quietly.
Overall, there were 13 named storms, one more than average for the season. Andrea was the first and only one to make landfall in the U.S. Her tornadoes, heavy rain and flooding in parts of the South caused millions in damage and claimed one life.
The season’s two hurricanes -- Ingrid and Humberto – were the fewest since 1982 and well below the average of six. Neither became major hurricanes of Category-3 or higher.