Tropical downpours to inundate Florida, enhance risk of flooding

By Kyle Elliott, AccuWeather meteorologist
May 14, 2018, 10:19:07 AM EDT

Regardless of tropical development, downpours will continue to spread across Florida early this week and will prove to be a double-edge sword for the region.

“As a tropical disturbance meanders and moves slowly northward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, rain and heavy downpours will increase from south to north over Florida into Tuesday,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.

The downpours will occur regardless of whether the system strengthens into the Atlantic Basin's first tropical or subtropical depression or storm--a possibility AccuWeather meteorologists are monitoring.

"The waters of the eastern Gulf of Mexico are marginally warm enough for development," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said. "However, the system may attempt to acquire some tropical characteristics by midweek if it remains over these warmer waters long enough."

Florida Downpours 5.14 AM

On Monday, periods of rain and thunderstorms will overspread the peninsula from Jacksonville to Orlando, Tampa and Miami.

Anyone braving the wet weather for outdoor activities, including heading to the theme parks in Orlando, should keep a close eye to the sky and be sure to pack rain gear.

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As soon as thunder is heard, the risk of being struck by lightning is present. Move indoors and away from water when thunderstorms threaten.

There is the potential for a few tornadoes or waterspouts to spin up in some of the strongest thunderstorms.

“In areas where it rains for most of the time early this week, a general 1 to 2 inches of rain is likely with locally higher amounts,” Adamson said.

Key West measured over 3 inches of rain during the morning and early afternoon hours of Sunday.

Locations that get hit by repeated, heavier downpours will be at the highest risk for flash flooding in poor drainage areas.

“Overall, this rainfall will be more beneficial than detrimental, as it will help to put a dent in the ongoing drought,” Adamson said.

New unsettled May 13

The southern half of the Florida Peninsula and much of southern Georgia are in moderate to severe drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.

"The rain will also help to douse the wildfires burning across Florida," Pydynowski said.

According to the Florida Forest Service, there were 43 fires that had charred nearly 4,000 acres across the state as of Sunday.

The wet weather needed to further ease the drought will extend beyond early this week.

"The slow-movement of the storm and then a steady stream of moisture will keep Florida unsettled with rounds of showers and thunderstorms through this week," Pydynowski said.

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