Gusty Winds, Heavy Rain Expected in Southeast Florida from Developing Tropical System
Heavy rain, gusty winds and rough surf are expected Friday across southeast Florida from a potential tropical or subtropical storm developing nearby. The system is likely to move across the northern Bahamas Saturday, then out to sea Sunday.
An assortment of warnings and advisories have been issued for parts of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties for the possibility of strong winds and high seas through Friday.
Gale Warnings are in effect for near-shore waters from West Palm Beach to Key West, where the combination of wind and rough surf will be a significant hazard to mariners. A Wind Advisory has been issued for coastal areas of the same counties for the possibility of minor wind damage caused by frequent gusts up to 35 mph. Beach-goers are also urged to stay away from the water due to high surf and a high risk of rip currents along all of Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
On Thursday, a weak area of low pressure formed in the Florida Straits, where tropical moisture had already been in place, and a broad area of showers and thunderstorms formed. Wind gusts between 15 and 25 mph were also reported across the Florida Keys and portions of Monroe and Miami-Dade counties throughout the day.
The large area of unsettled weather is expected to migrate north and east along the southeast coast of Florida Friday. Showers could begin in Miami as early as dawn Friday with activity progressing northward along the Treasure Coast by midday. Spottier downpours are also expected farther inland and to the west, potentially reaching the Gulf Coast from Sarasota to Naples by late afternoon or evening.
During the periods of heavier rain, winds could gust up to 35 mph across land areas, with even higher gusts possible along the eastward-facing shores. Rainfall totals are likely to be in the one to two-inch range across much of Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Around an inch of rain is to be expected in Palm Beach County and the eastern half of the Everglades. Locations farther west, such as in Collier, Lee, and Hendry counties, will likely receive less than an inch of rain.
The wet and windy weather is expected to subside across most of South Florida Saturday, with the exception for areas immediately along the coast where gusty winds and showers may linger a bit longer. The rain is welcome news to the region, where abnormally dry condition have developed in recent weeks. However, the heaviest rain from this system is unlikely to affect the areas that need it the most - Southwest Florida, where a severe drought has aided in the development of several large wildfires in recent days.
The rainy season typically begins in South Florida between May 15 and May 25, so some improvement in the drought is likely over the coming weeks. The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1, and this could become the sixth year in a row that a tropical cyclone forms prior to the official start of season.
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