On the afternoon of April 26th 2023, the Atlantic coastline of Florida saw a somewhat rare severe weather event more reminiscent of the Central Plains with supercell storms building southward along the coast, bringing high winds and large hail.
Given it’s warm water sources on both sides of the state, large hail events in Florida are a relatively rare occurrence. Typically, larger hail-producing thunderstorms build in an environment characterized by a deep layer of dry air in the mid levels of the atmosphere, also known as an Elevated Mixed Layer, or EML. An EML is a region of relatively dry air 10-20,000 ft above the ground found downwind of mountain ranges or plateaus (such as the Rockies and Edwards Plateau). It is important to severe thunderstorm genesis by increasing the instability of the atmosphere, or tendency for air to rise explosively. This dry air also aids in the formation of large hail and strong downdraft winds coming from the base of a thunderstorm.