As a storm in the upper atmosphere lingers along the Gulf Coast, showers and thunderstorms will bring much-needed rain across Florida into the weekend.
On Friday through Saturday, the heaviest showers and thunderstorms are likely to target southern Louisiana, southern Alabama and southern Mississippi with a second zone over South Florida.
Rainfall amounts will average 2.00-4.00 inches across much of the peninsula, with lesser amounts of 1.00-2.00 inches across the western panhandle.
Showers and thunderstorms will feed off a tropical atmosphere, and resulting blinding downpours will cause localized flash flooding.
Flooding of low-lying areas and small creeks and streams will be the biggest threats from these storms, as they respond the quickest to rapid water runoff from thunderstorms.
The showers and thunderstorms will also have an impact on those who will be on vacation or have outdoor activities planned.
If you plan to be out and about this week, keep a close eye to the sky. Remember, if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. This is especially relevant when golfing or swimming, as you become particularly vulnerable.
Torrents of rain can also slow travel significantly as visibility is reduced and roadways become slick.
The rain and thunderstorms are not all bad for residents across the state, however.
Many areas, especially across central Florida from Tampa to Ocala and Jacksonville have been under moderate to severe drought conditions for much of the winter and early spring.
As many as two dozen wildfires were burning around the state as of early Tuesday morning.
These fires are not just occurring in rural areas, either. According to the Associated Press, last week a brush fire spread rapidly and came dangerously close to an apartment complex near Orlando.
Smoke from these fires can also reduce and lead to dangerous travel on major interstates that run across the region, such as 95, 75 or 4.
Smoke can also cause breathing problems for those with asthma or other respiratory related illnesses.
The expected rainfall over the next week will not only help to douse the flames, but also wet the lips of thirsty creeks, streams and plants that have had very little to drink over the past six months.
— DCHRRT (@dchrrt) April 30, 2013
The same system of storms moved over Texas late Monday afternoon, unleashing a tornado in San Patricio County, Texas. There were no reports of damage or injury.
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