Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Gulf of Mexico Tropical Moisture Brings Heavy Rain Threat to the South, Including Drought-Suffering Florida

Chris Dolce
Published: June 6,2017

Tropical moisture surging north from the Gulf of Mexico has contributed to heavy rain and flash flooding in the South this week, including in drought-stricken Florida.
Estimates of up to 7 inches of rain impacted parts of southern Mississippi early Tuesday resulting in roads and bridges being flooded or washed out in Jones County. Some homes were also flooded in the area.
(LATEST NEWS: Flash Flooding in the South)
Marco Island, Florida, also experienced significant flooding Tuesday morning with cars stalled after 6-8 inches of rain fell overnight. More than 10 inches of rain has fallen in Everglades City, Florida, where water reportedly entered some structures.
Roads were closed in Charleston, South Carolina Tuesday afternoon due to flooding. Areas around the City Market in the French Quarter of Charleston were also flooded.
Here are some select observed rainfall totals as of early Tuesday afternoon:
  • Ochopee, Florida: 14.68 inches
  • Everglades City, Florida: 10.27 inches
  • Near Belle Meade, Florida: 9.83 inches
  • Near Hattiesburg, Mississippi: 6.32 inches
Additional heavy downpours can be expected through Wednesday in parts of the Southeast and Florida. Here's what to expect.

Forecast: Heavy Rain, Flash Flood Threat Continues

There's a host of ingredients in play that have contributed to the heavy rain in the South this week:
1) A deep flow of tropical moisture pushing toward the Gulf Coast
2) An upper-level low which has moved slowly from Texas eastward along the Gulf Coast the last few days.
3) An arriving frontal boundary, providing a focus to lift the warm, humid air
4) A sharp southward jet stream plunge into the East

Rainfall Potential Through Friday
This setup will continue to bring widespread showers and thunderstorms to parts of the Southeast, including Florida, through Thursday. Some areas could locally pick up more than 5 inches of additional rain.
(MORE: Why Florida Has Wet & Dry Seasons)
While additional flooding is possible in the Florida Peninsula and southern Georgia this week, this rain is also desperately needed, given the current severe to extreme drought and recent wildfires.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for a portion of northern Florida and South Florida through Wednesday.

Current Radar, Watches and Warnings
(MORE: Flooding Nearly Three Times Deadlier in 2015-16)
The chance of additional showers and thunderstorms will continue through late week in the Florida Peninsula as a frontal boundary stalls over the state. The rest of the South will begin to dry out.
(MAPS: 7-Day U.S. Daily Forecast | 48-Hour Rainfall Forecast)

Additional Flooding Reports

Flash flooding on Monday morning resulted in numerous road closures in Batesville, Arkansas. Water rescues from flash flooding were reported as far north as Marion, Ohio.
On Sunday, more than a dozen water rescues were reported in and around Houston as cars became stranded on flooded roads. A thunderstorm that moved through Dallas early Sunday evening also produced flash flooding.
Locally more than 7 inches of rain fell in a few hours on Sunday in Chambers County, Texas, which is located along the southeast Texas coast.
MORE: Atlantic Basin's Retired Hurricane and Tropical Storm Names

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