Looming Tropical Depression or Storm to Bring Heavy Rainfall to South Florida Friday and Saturday
Thunderstorms persisting east of the Yucatan Peninsula, Hurricane Hunters scheduled to investigate Thursday afternoon
Since hurricane recordkeeping began in the Atlantic, more than a third of all June tropical storms and hurricane impacts have been in the state of Florida. The last named storm in June to impact the state was Tropical Storm Colin in 2016, which caused locally heavy rainfall (up to 17 inches) in the Tampa Bay metro area. Prior to Colin, there was Tropical Storm Andrea in June of 2013, which produced up to 13 inches of rainfall in parts of North Miami Beach. And before Andrea, there was Tropical Storm Debby in June of 2012, which brought torrential rainfall across the Florida peninsula – up to nearly 30 inches just south of the State Capitol in Tallahassee. There’s a common theme to June storms in the tropics – they’re generally weak and disorganized, but often prolific rainmakers.
We continue to monitor the disturbance centered in the western Caribbean near the Yucatan Peninsula. Thankfully, the system has been slow to organize in large part due to nearby strong winds aloft, but this morning it’s beginning to show more concentrated thunderstorm growth east of the Yucatan, perhaps a sign hostile wind shear is starting to relax. If these thunderstorms are able to persist today, it will allow pressures to fall and the low to become more defined. Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to investigate this afternoon and will be in the area by around 2 PM or 3 PM ET today. As of 8 AM ET Thursday, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting a high chance that this low pressure area – dubbed Invest 91L – will become the first tropical depression or tropical storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. With the development window quickly closing today and tomorrow, there won’t be much opportunity for the system to grow into much more than a low-grade tropical storm before reaching the western Florida peninsula Saturday morning.
Regardless of its future development, an impressive spigot of tropical moisture will open up and flow northward into south Florida beginning today. This will set the stage for some potentially heavy rainfall south of the I-4 Florida corridor Friday into Saturday. Rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches across the WPLG viewing area, with locally higher totals reaching double digits, are possible as the system moves through. While we can’t pinpoint the exact details of the rainfall this far out, we’ll likely see pockets of urban and flash flooding, especially where training of storms occurs. By Sunday afternoon, South Florida should return to a more typical summertime regime of scattered afternoon shower and thunderstorms for the start of the workweek.