7 million Floridians are at risk of flooding, with a foot of rain possible by Friday

7 million Floridians are at risk of flooding, with a foot of rain possible by Friday

Miami – Parts of Florida are at high risk of flooding, with more than 7 million people warned to remain on alert. Some areas could receive more than a foot of rain by the end of the week, which could add to the record rainfall levels the state has seen this year.

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Abundant tropical moisture began pouring into the Sunshine State on Tuesday, and frequent rain and thunderstorms on Wednesday continue to threaten multi-day flash flooding on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, including the Miami area.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Weather Prediction Center has raised the region’s heavy rainfall risk to Level 3 from 4 in South Florida, where rain rates could reach 2 inches per hour.

Millions in Florida face a major threat of flash flooding caused by tropical torrential rains

The FOX Forecast Center warns that several flash floods are possible through Wednesday night. Overall, rainfall totals will likely reach 5-8 inches across much of the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area by Thursday, with isolated areas receiving up to 10-12 inches.

Fort Lauderdale will receive 100 inches of rain in 2023

The additional rain comes as South Florida is already soaked this week. Fort Lauderdale received 2.75 inches of rain Tuesday — a record high for the day and pushing annual precipitation past 100 inches, marking only the second time the city has reached the century mark on record.

“Last night (Tuesday) was tough. We knew it was going to be,” FOX Weather meteorologist Britta Merwin said. “This is a spot that’s been hit hard this year. You know, the rain yesterday pushed them beyond the limit, both figuratively and realistically.”

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Meanwhile, the Gulf Coast saw below-average precipitation, but according to the National Weather Service, rain finally fell in Tampa Bay on Tuesday after 23 straight days without precipitation.

However, the records did not stop there. After not recording any rainfall since Oct. 21, Ruskin set a new daily rainfall record for Tuesday of 0.87 inches, breaking the old record of 0.53 inches set in 1997, the weather service said.

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The storm has little chance of tropical development

The National Hurricane Center has even designated the storm for possible tropical development, although the probability of it occurring is still very low.

“Just because the hurricane center flagged this, it doesn’t change the impacts,” Merwin said. “And when you talk about weak tropical systems and also non-tropical systems, it’s really about impact. We know the impact we’re going to have — heavy rainfall.”

The system is also producing dangerous conditions on Florida’s Atlantic beaches, including life-threatening strong rip currents and dangerous surf, the FOX Forecast Center said.

Coastal Flood Watches for Louisiana and Mississippi

Additionally, coastal areas of the Gulf Coast extending from Louisiana to Florida’s Panhandle are under coastal flood watches through Thursday. Gusty easterly winds of up to 45 mph are pushing high tides into coastal lowlands, causing some beach erosion and minor beach flooding.

A wind advisory has also been issued for the New Orleans area, in effect through Thursday morning, with wind gusts of 40-45 mph.

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The Gulf Coast has experienced prolonged drought conditions, making the recent rains a welcome sight.

More than half of Louisiana is currently in “exceptional drought,” the worst level of drought. This has led to forest fires and smoky conditions, making driving dangerous and the air unhealthy. In Mississippi, nearly 90% of the state is experiencing extreme and exceptional drought conditions.

Unfortunately, more than a week of rain will not be enough to end the drought in either state. Regular rains will be needed to provide drought relief.

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