LATEST WEATHER UPDATE
Wind gusts up to 70 mph possible, along with hail, as storms move through
6:10 a.m.: A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties until 7 a.m. Wind gusts up to 70 mph and hail up to .75 inches are possible.
Tornado watch issued for several Panhandle counties
4:35 a.m.: A tornado watch is in effect until 11 a.m. for the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Jackson, Escambia, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington.
The leading edge of a strong squall line of storms was entering the western part of the Panhandle shortly before 6 a.m. Damaging wind gusts are possible ahead of it, along with tornadoes.
Escambia and Santa Rosa counties face possible severe storms and flood threats this week, according to the National Weather Service in Mobile.
Beginning Tuesday afternoon, both counties may potentially see severe storms until Wednesday, with the possibility of tornadoes, heavy rain, flash floods and hail.
"We're probably going to have a line of storms approaching the area overnight Tuesday night into Wednesday morning," said Jack Cullen, meteorologist for the NWS in Mobile. "Right now we're expecting the main severe weather threat to remain northwest of the main Pensacola area ... but we can't rule anything out."
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Escambia and Santa Rosa counties may get "damaging winds, a tornado or two, large hail and localized flash flooding" beginning Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday night, the NWS posted on social media.
(Escambia County) is still going to get some thunderstorms and rain and some of those storms have the potential to briefly become strong, but the main threat for any tornadoes, large hail and stuff like that will mainly stay north of the coast," Cullen said. "For Pensacola, (hail) is a very low risk."
Cullen also said he believes the only severe weather the city of Pensacola may receive is "an isolated tornado or straight-line winds."
The NWS asks residents to prepared and "stay weather aware" by having a plan and knowing what to do when warning are issued.
"Don't let nighttime storms surprise you!" a NWS Facebook post stated. "Have multiple ways to receive warning including one that will wake you up in the middle of the night!"
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Weather: Escambia, Santa Rosa may get strong winds and tornadoes