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Tuesday morning update: The Flood Watch has been extended through Tuesday evening for Southeast Florida as more rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected. The Weather Prediction Center has placed the region in a marginal risk for excessive rainfall today (risk level 1 out of 4) which could trigger isolated flash flooding in localized areas.

Overall shower coverage will be less over the afternoon and evening, with the majority of the activity primarily secluded along the East Coast. However, it won’t take much to cause additional flooding concerns, especially across South Florida.

Widespread showers are continuing to move off the East Coast of the Sunshine State into the Atlantic Tuesday. Showers, with possible embedded thunderstorms, will develop throughout the East Coast of Florida on Tuesday and are expected to clear out of the state over the evening and overnight.

South-Central Florida estimated between 8 to 12 inches of rain Monday, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne. Vero Beach set a record Monday, receiving 2.85 inches of rain, breaking the previous record of 2.3 inches set in 1973. More than 3 inches of additional rain could drench parts of southeast Florida through Tuesday.

Tuesday is expected to be a transition from the tropical disturbance delivering excess amounts of rain to a more typical summer-like pattern by Wednesday. Conditions will improve in South and Central Florida over the afternoon as the disturbance continues north-northeast. Northeast Florida drying out during the evening and overnight. The wet pattern will continue to be in place with daily chances for showers and thunderstorms.

Scattered to widespread showers and thunderstorms for the next several days will produce estimated rainfall accumulations of less than 3 inches. Localized flooding may occur for areas which receive isolated higher totals.


Monday morning update: The Flood Watch has expanded to include much of East-Central Florida, from Seminole and Orange counties south to Okeechobee and Martin counties. A few strong thunderstorms are possible along the east coast of Florida through Memorial Day where a marginal risk has been issued by the Storm Prediction Center (threat level 1 of 5). 

Rainfall rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour may be possible with some storms in east central Florida through Monday with widespread rain amounts of 4 to 6 inches possible through Tuesday morning. Areas that experience heavy rainfall could see localized flooding, with the main impacts being water on roadways, flooding of low-lying and poor drainage areas, and the rising water levels in small streams and canals. 

Multiple rounds of heavy rain and a few strong thunderstorms will continue to be produced in South Florida with an additional 3 to 5 inches of rain possible for the east coast metro areas in South Florida. Isolated higher amounts possible through Monday night. 

This deep tropical moisture will continue to move north and northeast through Monday and Tuesday into Northeast Florida before gradually moving away from the Sunshine State by Wednesday night. 


Multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected across the Florida peninsula over the next three days, and in some cases Memorial Day could be a complete washout. However, only spotty showers are expected farther north and west across the Florida Panhandle, where the rainy season isn’t underway just yet.

The discrepancy in expected rainfall between the peninsula and the panhandle over the next few days will be accentuated by an upper-level disturbance that is expected to move across the peninsula Monday.

A Flood Watch has been issued for portions of South Florida, beginning Sunday at 2PM EDT and lasting through Memorial Day. The watch includes the cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Naples.

Several rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected over the Memorial Day weekend in South Florida which could produce localized flooding. The highest chances for a few strong thunderstorms exists across areas near and south of I-75 from Naples to Miami, where a marginal risk (threat level 1 out of 5) for wind damage has been identied by the Storm Prediction Center for both Sunday and Monday.

Tropical moisture was observed to be already moving into South Florida Sunday morning, ahead of a disturbance that was developing over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and Yucatán Channel


This moisture is expected to continue streaming northward through Monday, aiding in the development of multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms with heavy rain.

An average of 2 to 4 inches of rain is expected across most of South Florida through Monday, with some isolated spots possibly receiving up to 6 inches. Flooding is most likely near poor drainage areas, as well as in low-lying locations near small creeks, streams and canals.

Lesser amounts of rain are expected across central and northern portions of the state, where the downpours will be a bit more widely scattered. However, rainfall totals will likely exceed an inch in most spots by Wednesday. Locally higher amounts will be possible where a few stronger storms develop along the sea breezes near and east of the I-75 corridor from Tampa to Lake City.

Showers and a few thunderstorms are likely to continue Tuesday across the peninsula, although they may not be as widespread or hit as often. Slightly drier conditions are in the forecast across the state starting Wednesday, but the summertime pattern of afternoon sea breeze showers will likely continue in the days following.

Florida’s rainy season typically begins across the southern half of the state on or around May 20, then across areas farther north by June 1. The criteria used to define the roughly four-month period is a bit ambiguous, but it is generally marked by a persistence of high humidity, warm sea surface temperatures, and the absence of any cold fronts. This type of pattern allows sea breeze fronts to develop near the coast and push inland each afternoon, triggering the brief downpours Florida is known for by locals and tourists.

Beneficial rain is still in the forecast in South Florida Sunday and Sunday night, where some of it could be heavy. However, lesser amounts are now expected across the rest of the peninsula, thanks to a southward shift in the projected path of an approaching storm system from the Gulf of Mexico.

Showers are first expected to develop across portions of North Florida Saturday night, behind a slow-moving front. Cities such as Gainesville, Jacksonville, Ocala, and St. Augustine will likely wake up to some wet weather early Sunday. In these areas, only spotty rain showers are then expected during the day on Sunday, and even those may completely dry up by late afternoon.

It isn’t until midday Sunday, when a disturbance develops along the southward sagging front, that the heaviest rain is expected to fall across Central Florida. Downpours will likely develop over cities such as Tampa, Orlando, and Melbourne by Sunday afternoon, then across much of South Florida from Fort Myers to Miami by Sunday evening. A few strong thunderstorms with gusty winds are also possible across the Florida Keys Sunday night.

The rain event will be rather brief in most spots north of The Everglades, lasting only a few hours before quickly exiting to the east. However, locations along and south of I-75 in Collier, Monroe, and Miami-Dade counties may see several more hours of heavy rain Sunday night. This is due to more instability and moisture being present closer to where the storm system tracks, which is most likely to be across the Florida Straits early Monday.

Rainfall accumulations will likely be less than inch in most of north and central Florida, but could be as high as two inches in the aforementioned areas of South Florida near and south of I-75. Locally higher rainfall amounts will be possible, especially in areas that receive multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms. This appears most likely across the Florida Keys and in southern portions of Miami-Dade County.

Sunday and Monday’s rain will alleviate some of the drought conditions that have developed over much of the Sunshine State, especially across Southwest Florida where the largest rainfall deficits have been this year. The storm system should exit Florida’s Atlantic coast before sunrise on Monday, with drier air presiding across the state through midweek.

Moisture is expected to return to the Sunshine State this weekend, and it will likely bring much-needed rain to the drought-stricken landscape of central and south Florida.

An area of low pressure will likely form over the Rocky Mountains by the end of the week, then track southeast over the Central Plains. The system should enter the Deep South by Friday, followed by a slow journey across Florida Saturday and Sunday.

Showers and a few thunderstorms are likely to form along the system’s cold front in the Florida Panhandle Friday night, then North Florida Saturday. Rainfall amounts in these areas will be limited by the forward speed and weak nature of the front, generally accumulating to under an inch in most areas.

The front will sag into Central Florida Saturday night, then stall across South Florida Sunday. A moisture rich air-mass from the Gulf of Mexico will interact with the energy from the system and produce rounds of moderate to torrential rainfall over the region Sunday into Monday.

Two to three inches of rain are expected in parts of Collier, Hendry, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties over the two day period, which should help mitigate the drought that has developed. After initial rounds of downpours saturate the ground, additional storms could overwhelm soils and waterways and lead to flash flooding.

The system should finally push out of South Florida by Tuesday as high pressure builds to the north. Although scattered showers will remain possible next week, the heaviest rain will have departed.

Multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms are likely across Florida over the next three days, thanks to a slow-moving front that could produce heavy rain in some areas.

The rain could be welcome news to farmers in the Florida Panhandle Monday night and Tuesday, who are dealing with a moderate or severe drought. However, the heaviest rain is likely to fall a little farther south Tuesday night and Wednesday, across portions of North-Central Florida where up to three inches is possible.

Good News for Some

The winter months are typically much drier in Florida than in the summer, but this season has been unusually so in Florida’s Big Bend region. Last week, the USGS has classified a large area from the Apalachicola River to the Nature Coast as abnormally dry. Embedded within that area were localized spots of moderate drought, with Wakulla County’s situation even being classified as “severe”. According to NOAA’s Regional Climate Center, this area will require at least four inches of rain to completely erase the deficit. However, only some of that is expected from this week’s front.

Heavy Rain is Possible

The storm system approaching Florida this week first moved over the Desert Southwest Sunday, where it dumped record-setting rainfall in Phoenix, Arizona. The area of low pressure was expected to intensify in the Central Plains Monday, before moving into the Ohio Valley Tuesday. A cold front is then forecast to sweep across the Deep South Tuesday night and Wednesday, but slow down considerably as it moves through.

Winds from the southwest at nearly all layers of the atmosphere will aid in the transport of deep amounts of moisture into Florida ahead of the front. This could lead to several rounds of heavy rain in some areas, especially where the front might even stall temporarily across North-Central Florida. A piece of energy is then likely to cause the front to accelerate again as it moves across Central Florida Wednesday, before exiting the state through South Florida Wednesday night.

The When and Where

Showers were beginning to push ashore along the Emerald Coast Monday afternoon, and a few thunderstorms are expected to develop farther east toward Panama City and Tallahassee Monday evening. Here is a look at a Future Radar animation through Tuesday morning.

Showers are likely to spread across Florida’s Big Bend and Nature Coast regions Tuesday, then become heavier and steadier as the front slows down Tuesday afternoon. The heaviest rain with this system is then likely to fall near and roughly 30 miles either side of a line from Cedar Key to Ocala to St. Augustine Tuesday night. In this corridor, widespread rainfall amounts of two inches are expected, with locally higher totals up to three inches possible. A few strong thunderstorms are also possible, although atmospheric conditions are not expected to be conducive for severe weather at the time.

The cold front is forecast to weaken some as it accelerates toward Central Florida Wednesday, when periods of rain and a few rumbles of thunder will be possible in cities such as Tampa, Orlando and Melbourne. The showers will continue marching south toward the South Florida cities of Fort Myers, Naples, West Palm and Miami Wednesday night.

Drier and much colder weather is forecast to sweep across the Sunshine State Thursday and Friday. Below normal temperatures are then expected to continue through the weekend.

A soaking rain is likely across the Sunshine State Sunday, and it could be heavy enough to cause river or street flooding in some areas.

Thunderstorms capable of producing minor wind damage or a brief tornado are also possible in portions of South Florida Sunday afternoon, although considerable uncertainty remains on whether this risk will materialize.

An area of low pressure is forecast to form in the central Gulf of Mexico Saturday, then gradually strengthen as it moves across the state Sunday. The first area to receive widespread rain is likely to be the Florida Panhandle Saturday night. This will then spread east along I-10 toward Jacksonville and portions of North Florida Sunday morning.

Clusters of heavy rain with embedded thunderstorms are also expected to develop farther south by Sunday afternoon, moving ashore from the Gulf of Mexico near and south of the I-4 corridor. The rain will end in most areas by Monday morning, although scattered showers may persist a bit longer in northeast Florida.

The following windows of time are when the heaviest and most persistent rain is expected.

How much may fall

The greatest threat from the storm system is excessive rain. Computer model projections as of Friday afternoon are showing widespread 1 to 3 inch rainfall amounts over the state, with a few locations perhaps receiving upwards of 4 inches.

There are some indications from the American and European global models that two pockets of heavy rain — one near I-10 in the Panhandle and another over central Florida — may develop. However, forecasting the precise location of flooding downpours more than a few hours in advance is typically not possible.

Coastal hazards possible

Gusty winds from the storm have prompted the National Weather Service to issue Small Craft Advisories or Gale Watches for both the Atlantic and Gulf waters. If the track of the low pressure is over the Panhandle, there may be minor coastal flooding for portions of Florida’s Big Bend as well. Rough surf and rip currents may also create a hazard for those looking to enter the water over the holiday weekend.

Low severe potential

The air mass is expected to become warm, humid, and unstable enough to produce strong thunderstorms, primarily south of Interstate 4, Sunday into Sunday evening. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a “marginal risk”, a level 1 out of a possible 5, for the possibility that a few of the storms may be strong enough to produce damaging gusts and a tornado or two. A widespread outbreak of damaging winds and tornadoes is not presently anticipated, but residents are advised to occasionally monitor the forecast over the weekend for changes.

Scattered showers and a few downpours are possible into Monday, with a clearing trend and return to more typical Florida-like December weather for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

An interesting weather system may develop near Florida this weekend, and it has the potential to wash away your outdoor plans. There is also a chance it could produce more than just heavy rain.

It must be stated before anything else that confidence is extremely low on the specifics of what may (or may not) occur this weekend in Florida.

Nonetheless, reliable forecast data is suggesting a significant rainfall event will occur somewhere across the state Saturday or Sunday. The rain could also be accompanied by gusty winds, choppy seas, and even severe thunderstorms if a stronger storm system were to develop.

The reason for the unsettled weather is an area of low pressure that is expected to form over the Gulf of Mexico Friday or Saturday. This will not be a traditional fast-moving cold front that often sweeps through this time of year, producing only one episode of wet weather. Rather, it is likely to be a slow-moving storm that has the potential to produce long-lasting periods of rain or thunderstorms in some areas.

Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne shared an animation of all the possible tracks the area of low pressure could take this weekend from one particular ensemble of model runs.

Several inches of rain are forecast to fall in some areas Saturday or Sunday, which could lead to localized flooding. Thunderstorms capable of producing wind damage or even a brief tornado also can’t be ruled out. However, it is too early to credibly forecast where any of this may occur. Furthermore, depending on the strength and track of the low, high seas and gale force winds are even possible along Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic coasts prior to or immediately following the passage of the storm.

This story only serves as an early notice to anyone planning to travel or vacation in the state this weekend, and we encourage all Floridians and visitors to stay informed of future forecasts when considering your holiday plans. Our team of meteorologists at the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network will continue to monitor forecast data over the next few days and post frequent updates on this site and in our mobile app Florida Storms.

Widespread rain and a few strong thunderstorms are likely on Friday over much of the Big Bend, North, and Central Florida. The strongest storms may produce isolated damaging wind gusts and a low chance for a brief tornado.

The unsettled weather is expected to develop ahead of a gradually intensifying area of low pressure that will move quickly from the northeastern Gulf of Mexico to the Mid-Atlantic states. The Storm Prediction Center has placed portions of the Florida Panhandle and sections of North-Central Florida under a marginal risk for severe thunderstorms on Friday.

Scattered showers are expected to develop across the peninsula Thursday, then increase in coverage and intensity late Thursday night and Friday morning as they expand north to the I-10 corridor. The rain is also forecast to become heavier shortly after sunrise in the Jacksonville and Gainesville areas. Enough unstable air from the Gulf of Mexico may produce a few thunderstorms with gusty winds, as well.

With daytime heating Friday, the storms could intensify near the Tampa/St. Pete metro areas around midday. Winds from the southeast near ground level and from a different direction — from the south a few thousand feet of the above the ground — may create enough rotation for a brief tornado or two.

High resolution model simulations forecast the rain and thunderstorms to move across central Florida during the mid and late afternoon hours. If the air mass becomes unstable enough, a few pockets of damaging wind are possible near Interstate 4 before the heaviest rain departs shortly after sunset.

Drought conditions have been improving in recent weeks over the north Florida, but a moderate drought remains over much of the Big Bend and Panhandle areas. 1 to 1.5 inches of rain are forecast in these areas. Abnormally dry conditions have developed over south Florida, where less rain is forecast from this system.

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UF Media Properties

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PO Box 118400

Gainesville, FL 32611

 

(352) 392-5551

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