Today’s flight is a quick one, from the Atlantic coast of Florida (West Palm Beach, PBI) to the Gulf Coast (Tampa, TPA). You’re headed home after a week of meetings in Palm Beach, and your 1979 Mooney 201 will get you there in just about an hour. Your airplane has no on-board weather, but you do fly with an iPad and a portable ADS-B weather receiver. You are instrument rated, and between your datalink radar and your eyes, you are pretty good at dodging the inevitable Florida thunderstorms.
The weather doesn’t look too bad as you drive to the airport around noon, but the afternoon is yet to come. In Florida, you’ve learned to expect the unexpected, as conditions change quickly. Read the weather report below, then decide if you’re going or not going.
There’s no serious weather system that should affect your flight, just a cold front far to the northwest that won’t move through for at least 24 hours. But the surface analysis does show a weak trough across the state of Florida:
Radar and Satellite
These are the weather products to watch today, as usual for Florida. The regular afternoon thunderstorms haven’t blossomed up yet, but there is an area right in the middle of the state that could be an issue for your flight:
The site radar adds some additional detail:
Finally, the visible satellite image shows the building cumulus:
Weather at your departure and destination looks pretty good, although there are the typical warnings about thunderstorms and towering cumulus in the area. Your departure forecast calls for thunderstorms to move in between noon and 4pm.
KPBI 181553Z 12004KT 10SM BKN025CB BKN043 BKN060 30/24 A2987 RMK AO2 SLP114 CB OHD AND ALQDS MOV N TCU ALQDS CB TCU DSNT ALQDS T03000239 $= KPBI 181532Z 14005KT 10SM SCT016 BKN023CB BKN043 29/24 A2987 RMK AO2 CB E-OHD-W MOV N TCU ALQDS CB TCU DSNT ALQDS= (SPECI) KPBI 181453Z 11004KT 10SM SCT016CB BKN049 BKN110 29/24 A2988 RMK AO2 SLP117 CB E-S MOV N TCU OHD AND ALQDS CB DSNT NE VCSH E T02890239 50006=
TAF AMD KPBI 181610Z 1816/1912 14010KT P6SM VCTS SCT025CB BKN040 BKN060 TEMPO 1816/1820 5SM TSRA BKN025CB FM190300 18004KT P6SM SCT070 SCT100=
KTPA 181553Z VRB04KT 10SM FEW030 SCT250 27/21 A2989 RMK AO2 SLP120 T02670206= KTPA 181453Z 14004KT 10SM FEW035 SCT085 SCT250 25/22 A2990 RMK AO2 RAE05 SLP124 P0000 60010 T02500217 50004=
TAF AMD KTPA 181511Z 1815/1912 15005KT P6SM FEW035 FM181800 23007KT P6SM SCT035 FM182200 28008KT P6SM FEW040 SCT250 FM190200 VRB03KT P6SM SCT250=
You Make the Call
So what will you do? There certainly isn’t a large, organized front, and the weather at your destination is excellent. But the thunderstorms are starting to brew, and in Florida, things can change dramatically in 15 minutes. Add a comment below and tell us your decision and why.