WEATHER BLOG: Reverse summer pattern explained

By Brian McClure , Bay News 9 Meteorologist
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT

Everyone who lives in Florida for a while gets used to the daily afternoon thunderstorms in the summer. 

This is the result of our daily sea breeze drifting in from the Gulf each day. 

The sea breeze acts somewhat like a mini front in that it lifts the atmosphere, resulting in building clouds, and hence the thunderstorms. 

Those storms then send out gusts of air (outflows), which in turn cause more thunderstorms to form. 

The process typically dies down between 7 p.m. and midnight each evening due to the loss of heating after sunset. 

The largest storms typically form when our sea breeze moves well inland and meets the east coast sea breeze east of I-75, usually in Polk County. 

That is common occurrence especially early in the season and one which occurred yesterday.

But there is a different summer pattern that we get and we refer to it as the “reverse summer pattern” or the “onshore wind flow pattern."

This is the result of a stronger wind from the west-southwest.

The atmospheric moisture is pushed in from the Gulf on this wind flow resulting in scattered showers and storms coming in from the Gulf and moving east-northeastward across the state. 

In this type of pattern the storms get an earlier start near our coast and our coastal areas can even see early morning showers and storms. 

Then these storms tend to move inland and to the other side of the state in the afternoon to evening hours. 

There is typically a lull in the activity on our side of the state for a little bit each evening and then it can start up again overnight into the next morning. 

This is the pattern we will be in the next couple days due to a front sliding down into the panhandle resulting in a stronger wind from the west-southwest. 

This pattern tends to result in more intervals of clouds, but with faster moving storms. 

The high temperatures tend to be a couple degrees lower and the overnight lows tend to be a few degrees warmer in this pattern, leading to little variation in temperatures but a very humid feel.