Rain should start Sunday and continue into Monday and Tuesday, forecasters say. (Credit: NWS-Miami)
A low pressure center forecast by major models to form in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico could rev up into a tropical system before sliding across Florida, drenching parts of the state with up to 7 inches of rain.
The low is expected to form at the tail end of an unusual late-July cold front that trailed off the powerful Mid-Atlantic low and dumped a half-foot of rain in places like Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula.
Although it probably won’t have time to spin up before crossing Florida, the National Hurricane Center is giving the area a 20 percent chance of becoming a depression or tropical storm by the end of the week after it begins moving northeast off Florida’s coast.
A tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic was showing more promise and the NHC gave it a five-day 30 percent chance of development as it moves west. Some models show this system deepening as it crosses the Central Atlantic but then fizzling out when it reaches the Lesser Antilles.
There’s still plenty of dry air in the Atlantic.
Some of the forecast models show the Gulf of Mexico low moving farther south before crossing the peninsula, and the cone for development stretches all the way from around Fort Myers-Palm Beach north all the way to the Big Bend-Jacksonville line.
The front itself is expected to push back to the north around mid-week.
The National Weather Service in Miami is forecasting 1-3 inches of rain for the southern peninsula with up to 5 inches in some spots through Tuesday, with 4-6 inches in parts of western Florida. There’s a risk of minor flooding. “Flood watches may become necessary,” forecasters said in their Sunday morning discussion from Miami.
Precipitation probabilities will be as high as 80 percent over the next couple of days.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are watching two areas in the Atlantic for possible development, including a non-tropical low in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. On Sunday afternoon, forecasters gave the Gulf low a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical or subtropical cyclone by Tuesday and a 30 percent chance by Friday, after it crosses the Florida peninsula. Wind shear is “marginally conducive” to development, according to the NHC. The system was designated 98L and model forecasts began running. See below. Click here for a time-lapse loop of 98L from NASA. (Image credit, top: NHC; Image credit, below: SFWMD)