It’s going to be a rough, soggy couple of days as the Central Florida region and the nation head into one of the most heavily traveled period ahead of the Christmas holiday.
The most widespread, persistent heavy rainfall will overspread the local area Saturday night through Sunday night, the National Weather Service in Jacksonville cautions, with most areas expected to get 2 to 4 inches of rain.
There will also be dangerous beach and surf conditions through Monday, with life-threatening rip currents, rough, high surf with breakers of 4 to 6 feet Friday and Saturday, up to 7 to 10 feet on Sunday, and significant beach erosion and potential flooding over the weekend.
The weather service predicts that the heaviest rains will be concentrated over southeast Georgia and the northernmost portions of northeast Florida, with up to 6 inches of rain in parts of Georgia and Fernandina Beach and 3 to 4 inches in the Jacksonville area, making Christmas shopping in that region a bit of a challenge. Rain amounts are expected to be lower further south, but still heavy.
For Flagler County, the concern, as always, is for the beaches and the dunes barrier, where storms over the past year have already carved out some of the sand buffer the county dumped along 12 miles of beach as it rebuilt the damage caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma and other storms since 2016.
The weather service says there’s a “low potential for strong storms Sunday afternoon and Sunday Night” with a potential for hail. Rain will taper off gradually, moving from west to east, on Monday. The rain event is the result of weather system building from the Gulf of Mexico.
If you’re heading out of town or expecting guests from elsewhere, poor travel conditions over the weekend will be prevalent in the nation’s southeast and northwest, with heavy rains in the Pacific Northwest, gradually spreading over much of the length of the west coast, but the rest of the nation, including the Northeast and the Great plains, will enjoy clear skies from a succession of high pressure systems. (You can visualize the systems over several days here.)
So while the first days of Hanukkah will be rough and soggy, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are expected to be clearer and mild in the Flagler-Palm Coast region. See the National Weather Service-Jacksonville’s updated weather briefings here.