A cluster of thunderstorms has developed over the Bahamas in the western Atlantic Ocean, and the disturbance is expected to approach Florida later this week. The system is not expected to be classified as “tropical”, but it will likely produce summer-like downpours and thunderstorms across much of the peninsula later this week.
Showers and thunderstorms will arrive first in South Florida Wednesday night, where they will last off and on through Friday. The heaviest and most widespread rainfall in this region will occur on Thursday night, with gusty winds also possible at times. Rainfall accumulations of 1 to 2 inches are expected along the I-95 corridor from West Palm Beach to Melbourne, with locally higher amounts possible from heavier bands of thunderstorms.
Showers will approach Central Florida Thursday afternoon, then become more widespread and move into North Florida by Friday morning. The heaviest rain in these regions will likely occur near and east of the Florida Turnpike and I-75 corridors from Orlando to Lake City. Daytime heating and the interaction of a weak sea breeze may enhance the intensity and coverage of the activity Friday afternoon.
Lighter amounts of rain are expected in the Florida Panhandle from this weather system, although scattered showers and thunderstorms are also possible in these areas both Thursday and Friday afternoons. Drier air is projected to sweep in the from the west and carry the deeper tropical moisture away from all of Florida on Saturday. However, an approaching front may increase the chances of showers and thunderstorms again by Sunday across the northern third of the state.
The arrival of this system is a gentle reminder that the Atlantic Hurricane Season is fast approaching. The National Weather Service will hold their annual “Hurricane Preparedness Week” during the week of May 5th, and although the season doesn't officially begin until June 1, tropical storms can occur well before that date.
Meteorologists Cyndee O'Quinn and Megan Borowski contributed to this story.