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THE THREE TAKEAWAYS
  1. Heavy rain from Harvey spreads east Thursday and Friday
  2. Irma likely to be a long-lived hurricane in the Atlantic
  3. Mischief in the Gulf again, but unlikely a significant threat

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 11 PM: Tropical Storm Irma is now forecast to become the season’s second Major Hurricane, reaching Category 3 status with winds up to 120 mph by Sunday. Refer to the Irma section below for more details.

The moisture from Tropical Storm Harvey has already produced flash flooding near Pensacola, and more heavy rain is possible across the panhandle Thursday, then into north-central Florida Friday. Tropical Storm Irma has formed in the eastern Atlantic, and it could become a long-lived and strong hurricane. Also, a new area of interest in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is being closely monitored for possible tropical development this weekend.

In provide in-depth analysis on all three systems in the video below.

Harvey's Heavy Rain

A Flash Flood Watch continues through Thursday evening for Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties. While the steadiest rains have subsided in the area, new rain bands are still likely to rotate in from the west overnight and through much of Thursday. The heavy rain potential with shift east into Tallahassee and Jacksonville metro areas by Friday, with a few locally strong afternoon thunderstorms also possible.  An isolated tornado can’t be ruled out if a strong storm develops, but that risk remains rather low.  

Irma Intensifying over Atlantic

Irma became the ninth named storm of the season Wednesday, and as of the late-afternoon advisory from the National Hurricane Center, already had winds up to 60 mph. The storm was moving west-northwest at 15 mph and expected to become a hurricane by Thursday afternoon.  Several reliable forecast models project Irma to be a long-lived hurricane, and possibly even become a Major Hurricane

Not the Gulf again

The National Hurricane Center is also watching the Gulf. A disturbance over the Bay of Campeche has a “low chance” of developing this weekend. Unfortunately, it is possible that this new system could bring heavy rain to waterlogged parts of Texas and Louisiana. However, confidence in the outcome of this potential development is quite low. At the present time, this potential system poses no immediate threat to Florida.

THE BOTTOM LINE

While it’s far too soon to discuss any specifics on how Irma or the Gulf system may threaten any land areas, Floridians are encouraged to pay close attention to future advisories on Irma and bring any hurricane seasonal preparations to completion in the coming days.  The peak of the Atlantic season is only two weeks away.

Post Series: Harvey
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