Severe weather expected to stay for rest of week, say meteorologist

Published 8:54 am Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Severe thunderstorms and almost constant rain showers have drenched much of the Southeast over the past week, causing damage and inconvenience in their wake. Many businesses and residents of Bainbridge and Decatur County were left without power last week, with stores like Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie forced to throw out refrigerated perishable goods after a whole day without electricity. Bainbridge Public Safety took to directing traffic at intersections without traffic lights, and the flagpole in front of the county courthouse was knocked over by the winds. That was last week; residents at the River Oaks neighborhood found themselves stuck after a fallen tree fell across River Oaks Road, until city work crews removed the obstacle.

The weather temporarily cleared up on Tuesday, with warm weather and partly cloudy skies.

Unfortunately, this clear and dry weather is not expected to last. The Post-Searchlight spoke with Austin Lowe, a meteorologist affiliated with Tallahassee’s WCTV. According to Lowe, a front of more bad weather is expected to arrive on Wednesday and settle over the Bainbridge and the southwest Georgia/north Florida area.

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Lowe confirmed what many have easily observed, that this amount of rain this time of year is not normal. According to records, rainfall levels at roughly this same time in 2022 was about an inch for Bainbridge, and less than an inch for Tallahassee. According to Lowe, some areas have already received three inches of rain over the past week, and could receive six by the end of this week. Lowe explained that the sub-tropical jet, a belt of strong winds at the upper levels of the atmosphere (roughly 30,000 feet up) has been unusually strong this year; while the jet normally has a wind speed of 20-30 mph, it has recently reached speeds of 70-100 mph. This was attributed to the change in the La Niña/El Niño weather patterns, with the weather shifting from a three-year La Niña period that ended earlier this year, to El Niño.

While there is no way to be absolutely certain, Lowe did forecast that late into the weekend, or possibly early into next week, the weather should subside back to normal.