Flash Flood Emergency issued for parts of South Florida as tropical disturbance 90L crosses state

The National Weather Service Office in Miami issued a Flash Flood Emergency for portions of Broward and Miami-Dade counties through Wednesday evening, where some gauges were expected to see rainfall rates of 4 to 6 inches per hour.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is monitoring a disturbance over Florida for potential tropical development after it crosses the peninsula and emerges over the southwestern Atlantic, but the system has already produced flooding rain and left behind damage as it traverses the state.

The NHC has dubbed this disturbance Invest 90L. An invest is a naming convention the NHC uses that allows forecasters to run specialized computer models on systems being monitored for possible development.

Regardless of development, the FOX Forecast Center said heavy rainfall that has already led to flash flooding is expected to continue across portions of Florida over the next day or two.

The NHC said an elongated area of low pressure over the Florida Peninsula is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms

"Although upper-level winds are expected to be only marginally conducive, some slow development is possible while the system moves northeastward offshore of the U.S. Southeast coast tonight through late week," the agency noted in its latest outlook.

The first Hurricane Hunters mission of the season will be into Invest 90L on Wednesday.

Significant rain totals expected

The formation of the tropical disturbance comes as a deluge of tropical moisture bombards Florida, possible dropping a foot of rain in some cities. Flooding has already been reported in parts of the state. 

The National Weather Service Office in Miami issued a Flash Flood Emergency for portions of Broward and Miami-Dade counties through Wednesday evening, where some gauges were expected to see rainfall rates of 4 to 6 inches per hour.

The warning included Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport where there were reports of standing water on the runway and dozens of delays and cancelations.

More than half a million residents were included in the alert, which included the communities of Pembroke Pines, Hollywood and Miramar.

Parts of Interstate 95 around Dania Beach were also shut down due to flooding. The Florida Highway Patrol said contractors were en route to assist in pumping water off the interstate.

Transportation cameras showed several vehicles that appeared to be waterlogged.

Mayors in both Fort Lauderdale and Miami-Dade County declared local states of emergencies, to help with clean up and recovery, and Florida's governor declared emergencies in Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier, Lee and Sarasota counties.

Broward County Public Schools announced they'll be closed on Thursday due to on-going flooding.

The tropical deluge is expected to continue into the early weekend. By Saturday, some areas in Southwest Florida, including Fort Myers and Naples, could see more than a foot of rain.

EF-1 tornado causes damage outside of West Palm Beach

According to Martin County Fire Rescue, a  tornado on Wednesday morning caused damage in parts of Hobe Sound, Florida, about 25 miles north of West Palm Beach. Some homes were reported to have sustained damage, and power outages were reported in some neighborhoods.

Just south of Hobe Sound, portions of Jupiter Island were inaccessible after trees were knocked down by the possible tornado. Martin County Fire Rescue said it was working to clear the affected roads.

A NWS survey crew confirmed that the damage was consistent with an EF-1 tornado that had peak winds of 85-95 mph.

Driver rescued from sinking vehicle in Fort Myers

Firefighters in the Fort Myers region said they performed a water rescue of a man trapped inside an SUV on Wednesday morning.

First responders said floodwater was over the driver's lap and the car was sinking into the mud when they arrived.

They quickly got the distressed man out of the vehicle and found no other victims needing rescue.

"If you can stay home, please do. If you have to be on the roads, always wear your seat belt and drive the speed appropriate for the weather and road conditions," the South Trail Fire & Rescue stated.

Record rainfall swamped Florida on Tuesday

Radar estimates showed 7-12 inches of rain fell Tuesday evening in parts of Southwest Florida.

Sarasota, Florida, recorded 6.47 inches of rain Tuesday, marking the city's 11th-wettest day overall since records began in 1911. The rainfall also secured its place as the fourth-wettest June day and set a new daily rainfall record for June 11. Sarasota even broke its all-time one-hour rainfall record when 3.93 inches fell in a single hour.

The heavy rainfall led to flooding in downtown Sarasota, with several vehicles that were partially submerged.

Remarkably, the amount of rain that fell in Sarasota on Tuesday exceeded the total rainfall it received in February (3.26 inches), March (1.04 inches), April (1.02 inches) and May (0.02 inches) combined.

In North Florida, Gainesville also broke its all-time one-hour rainfall record Tuesday with 3.92 inches falling in a single hour, highlighting the intensity of the weather event across the state.

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