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NHC monitoring area for development as heavy rain continues over South Florida

June 11, 2024

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is watching a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico that could develop into a tropical system after it crosses Florida and moves off the southeastern coast of the US in the coming days.

The disturbance is called Invest 90L. Invest is short for "investigation," and refers to a weather system the NHC is investigating. When tropical systems become “invests”, it allows forecasters to run specialized computer models on them for indicators of possible development.

Whether the system develops or not, millions of Floridians are under a flash flood risk through the Father’s Day weekend. Meteorologists with the National Weather Service say heavy rainfall capable of producing flash flooding is expected across parts of Florida over the next several days. And several parts of the Sunshine State are already seeing localized flooding.

Many parts of Florida are experiencing a serious drought and while the rain is welcome, the flash flooding threat is not. On Tuesday, “Frank the Frenchie” was cooling off from the sweltering heat in Port Orange, FL with his owner, Joel Albair.

The deluge of tropical moisture is forecast to bombard Florida this week, which means possibly a foot of rain in some cities and leading to potential flooding across the state are possible. NWS meteorologists say the highest rain totals will happen between Wednesday and Friday this week, bringing the potential for flooding as that rain adds

The tropical downpours will continue into the weekend. By Saturday, some areas in Southwest Florida, including Fort Myers and Naples, could see more than 12 inches of rain. For areas including Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the rain event has already started. Both cities could see between 8 and 12 inches of rain throughout the week. Orlando is poised to get 3-5 inches, with Thursday being the wettest day of the week. For North Florida, 1-2 inches is likely from Jacksonville to St. Augustine.
While the flash flood threat remains low, it could quickly change for urban areas that regularly flood and as the ground becomes saturated with widespread daily rain. Many parts of Florida are in a serious drought. And storms drains are clogged with dry debris that could make drainage very difficult in some areas around the State.

Climatologically, the month of June tends to be a less active month for tropical systems. However, this is also the time of year where old cold fronts go to die near Florida. So it isn’t unusual to see a tropical low form off a decaying frontal boundary. June makes up about 2% of historical Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. Since 1950, a little more than half of the seasons have had at least one named storm develop in June.

While the month of June is usually not very active in the tropics, any named storms that do form tend to occur close to the United States, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean Sea and near the Southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts. These storms typically track toward the north or northeast, which means the Gulf and Southeast coasts of the U.S. could potentially be in their path. Make sure you keep up with the forecast for any changes and get the latest tropical outlooks at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

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Sources include nearest National Weather Service office, National Hurricane Center, and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (@FloridaStorms).
Sources include nearby emergency management agencies, FEMA, and your local NPR affiliate. 
Sources include the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol and other nearby traffic information.

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