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Disturbance Enters The Gulf, Rip Current Risk Rises Along Atlantic Coast

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Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Wind shear should prevent the system from becoming too strong over the Gulf, but it is poised to bring higher moisture northward from Louisiana to Florida this week.

Update as of 11:30 a.m. Monday:

Major Hurricane Larry remains a Category 3 hurricane, about 1,000 miles southeast of Bermuda. Swells and rip currents are still on track to reach Florida's Atlantic coast Tuesday and Wednesday. The storm itself is forecast to remain well east of the U.S. coastline, and also pass to the east of Bermuda on Thursday.

Showers and thunderstorms over the southern Gulf of Mexico may still develop Tuesday or Wednesday over the central or northern Gulf. The track of the disturbance is more toward the Florida Panhandle. Moisture is expected to increase ahead of, and directly associated with, the disturbance over much of the state Wednesday and Thursday. The end result will be an increase above and beyond normal thunderstorm activity along the Gulf coast in the morning hours, with heavy rain from storms moving inland and reaching the Atlantic side of the state during the midday and afternoon hours. Spotty areas of flash flooding are possible, especially over the Panhandle, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Original story from 2 p.m. Sunday:

Showers and storms near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula are forecast to move into the central Gulf of Mexico early this week. There is a chance the system producing the unsettled weather could develop Tuesday or Wednesday.

Strong upper-level winds associated with a trough high in the atmosphere over the Gulf of Mexico are expected to create an environment of moderate or high wind shear. The expected wind shear is likely to prevent the system from becoming too strong over the Gulf, if it develops at all.

Whether it becomes a depression or named storm, the disturbance is poised to bring higher moisture northward from Louisiana to Florida on Wednesday and Thursday. On top of that, a cold front dropping south into South Carolina and Georgia will increase the chance of downpours, too.

Increasing rain and localized flooding is presently the most likely scenario from this disturbance and front later this week.

Another touch of drier air may reach Florida's Panhandle, Georgia, and South Carolina on Friday after the disturbance moves eastward into the Atlantic waters.

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Also, coastal residents will not deal with the direct effects of powerful Hurricane Larry in the Atlantic, but rip currents and swell will make conditions dangerous for swimmers.

Major Hurricane Larry is more than 1,200 miles southeast of Bermuda as of midday Sunday. It will most likely pass to the east of the island on Thursday. Larry is a long ways from the U.S. coastline, but its large size will generate swells that will propagate toward the coastline starting on Tuesday.

Waves that travel over large distances carry enormous energy that contribute to long-period swell and rip currents. These rip currents are possible at most Atlantic beaches and swimmers are advised to pay careful attention to beach flags and swim near lifeguards if entering the ocean.

The swells and rip currents may last through the end of the week.

Copyright 2021 Storm Center. To see more, visit FloridaStorms.org.

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