Millions in Florida face significant flash flood threat from tropical downpours

The excessive rainfall risk has been upgraded to moderate in South Florida as repeated showers and thunderstorms beginning Wednesday will increase the flooding threat for Miami and South Florida. This system is producing dangerous conditions on Florida's Atlantic beaches including life-threatening rip currents and dangerous surf. The NHC has also outlined the area for possible tropical development.

MIAMI - Tropical moisture began surging into Florida on Tuesday, bringing heavy rainfall and prompting a days-long threat of flooding on Florida's Atlantic coast, including the Miami area.

A new area of low pressure developing off South Florida will tap into the energy from a low in the Gulf of Mexico, currently bringing rain and wind to the Gulf Coast states from Louisiana to Florida. 

"This is going to be a mess for Florida," FOX Weather Meteorologist Stephen Morgan said. "And a bit of a sneaky system, too, in South Florida. It's not West Florida. We wish it was the Gulf Coast. And we'll watch to see if they get anything. But this is a heavy rain event that we see shaping up in South Florida."


The FOX Forecast Center said this new low, combined with deep tropical moisture, sets Florida up for repeated showers and thunderstorms beginning Wednesday into Thursday, increasing the flooding threat for Florida's Atlantic coast. The National Hurricane Center has even outlined the area for possible tropical development. 

Central, South Florida under flood alerts

Rain is expected to continue through at least the next 48 hours, which is expected to cause widespread flooding across South Florida.

Flood watches have been issued for many communities along Florida's east coast through at least Thursday morning, including Miami, Jupiter, Boynton Beach, and Palm Beach. 

For Wednesday, NOAA's Weather Prediction Center has upgraded the excessive rainfall risk to moderate in South Florida. A moderate risk of flooding means that scattered flash floods are likely and that numerous flash flooding events with significant events are possible. 

Florida flood Threat
(FOX Weather)


South Florida is forecast to receive between 5 and 8 inches of rain through Thursday, creating flash flooding concerns in the Miami metro area. 

According to the FOX Forecast Center, more than 12 inches is possible in a few locations.

Thunderstorms capable of producing rainfall rates of 2 to 2.5 inches per hour could pose the most significant flooding risk to urban areas in Miami and Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday.

Tuesday's rainfall pushed Fort Lauderdale's yearly precipitation accumulation to over 100" for the year, with a trajectory of beating the all-time wettest year of 102.36" set back in 1947. 

Rain total forecast.
(FOX Weather)


NHC monitors potential low-pressure system off Florida coast

The National Hurricane Center outlined an area east of Florida Tuesday afternoon, saying they expect an area of low pressure to develop near Southern Florida.

While tropical formation is not expected in the next several days, it will continue to bring unsettled weather to the Sunshine State.

"Although development into a tropical cyclone appears unlikely, this system is expected to produce gusty winds and heavy rains across portions of southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Bahamas during the next couple of days," forecasters said. 

The NHC is giving it a low chance for development over the next few days.

The National Hurricane Center has outlined an area east of Florida for possible tropical development.
(FOX Weather)


Coastal flood alerts for Louisiana and Mississippi

Meanwhile, flooding is an issue along parts of the Gulf Coast too. With the ongoing moisture surge from the Gulf of Mexico, a flash flooding threat shifted from Texas into Panama City, Florida and Mobile, Alabama, on Tuesday – a risk that holds into Wednesday. 

Coastal flood alerts are also in effect through Thursday for areas surrounding New Orleans and Biloxi as gusty east winds to 45 mph push elevated tides into coastal lowlands, bringing some beach erosion and minor shoreline flooding.  A Wind Advisory is in effect for New Orleans through Wednesday evening.

Gulf Coast flood alerts.
(FOX Weather)


The rain is indeed a welcome sight along the Gulf Coast experiencing long-term drought conditions. 

Over half of Louisiana is in exceptional drought – the worst level – where wildfires are smothering the Gulf Coast with smoke that has created dangerous driving conditions and unhealthy air. 

Mississippi is nearing 90% of the state in extreme and exceptional drought.

Unfortunately, more than a week of rain won't end the drought in either state. Regular rainfall events will be needed for drought relief.