December 5, 2023
Posted: September 28, 2023 10:14 am
Forecasters are closely monitoring a slow-moving tropical weather event that is set to usher in heavy rain to Florida by the end of the week. This tropical disturbance has been under close watch over the last few days as it picks up steam in the Gulf of Mexico. Here is what you need to know about this potentially hazardous weather maker.
Florida Prepares for Onslaught of Heavy Rain
Up to a foot of rain may fall across the Florida peninsula through the weekend, creating the risk of flash flooding throughout the state. There are two factors at play leading to this influx of moisture. Earlier in the week, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned of the possibility of a homebrew tropical weather system coming together in the Gulf of Mexico and heading to the Florida Gulf Coast. In addition, Tropical Storm Philippe could bring even more moisture as it approaches the state from the east.
The current presence of wind shear in the middle levels of the atmosphere is keeping Philippe from intensifying into a hurricane. However, exceptionally warm sea surface temperatures in this part of the basin will prevent the storm from breaking apart completely. Water temperatures through much of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean are hovering well above the 80-degree threshold needed for tropical weather support.
You can expect 2 to 4 inches of rain to fall across Florida and into southern Georgia. The hardest hit areas could see between 4 and 8 inches of rain with localized zones hitting up to a foot across a period of seven days.
Persistent Rain Forecast to Create Flooding Issues
This part of the country has already been hit with a good amount of moisture this week. For example, Jacksonville has recorded nearly 4 inches of rain over the last few days. The influx of even more moisture will only serve to heighten the flooding risks. Forecasters are warning that some areas will be hit with heavy downpours several times per day for consecutive days. Because of the localized nature of these storms and rain showers, some communities may see very little moisture.
As is typical, low-lying areas will be the most likely to experience flooding issues. The slow-moving prediction of these storms will also increase the chances of flash flooding as some areas of rain will hover over a region for an extended period of time.
While heavy rain will be the biggest risk associated with this weather pattern, the tropical features may also usher in strong winds, frequent lightning strikes, and isolated tornadoes and waterspouts. This weather pattern will likely cause disruptions to vacationers in Florida checking out the theme parks in the central part of the state. Golfers will also want to take note of the hourly forecast and plan tee times to avoid the storms.
The presence of severe weather will pose problems for beachgoers. The waters surrounding the peninsula are forecast to experience rough surf conditions and potentially dangerous rip currents. Coastal flooding will be in the cards for the northeastern coastline thanks to winds coming in from the northeast.
Motorists should also take caution as the precipitation will be significant enough to block roads.
The storms are predicted to fire up along the Gulf Coast and the Florida Keys overnight and into the early morning hours in the coming days. These storm cells are then forecast to move farther inland each day. This means that the Atlantic coastline will likely see the greatest amount of storm activity during the late afternoon and evening hours.
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