The opening race of the IndyCar season is almost here. After an off-season that seems like an eternity, we are pumped for the season to begin. So let's take an early look at what the weather might be next weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida.
With all long-range forecasts (generally > one week), there are caveats. At this point, we can make general statements about what the weather pattern might be, but specifics on timing are evolving and are difficult to pin down at this time. The forecast is bound to change over the next week, so be sure to check here for updates and more detailed forecasts.
The general pattern over the southeast United States by Thursday will be a high pressure ridge over the Bahamas, and a low pressure system over Texas. Both the high pressure ridge and low pressure trough are highly amplified, or in other words, the trough is deep and the ridge is tall. This means that the pattern will be slow to evolve over the weekend. The image below is a model projection (GFS, 06Z 3/4 run) of pressure contours, precipitable water or moisture content (image), and surface winds at 7 AM Friday 3/11. There's a strong front over the Gulf of Mexico that is moving slowly east, located where moisture is high and the wind arrows are merging. The southerly flow over Florida ahead of the front should provide warm temperatures Thursday and Friday, with highs around 80 degrees both days.
I'll have a post with a more detailed forecast up on either Sunday evening or Monday morning.
UPDATE: Just to show you how quickly things can change regarding the timing of rain - the latest run of the GFS (12Z 3/4) is now showing the showers and thunderstorms moving through St. Pete on Friday afternoon/evening, So like I said, the timing is very, very subject to change. Stay tuned.