Tropical deluge: Flooding rain threatens Florida, southeast
By Brian Donegan for Weather.com
A very wet weather pattern is expected to continue for parts of Florida and the rest of the Southeast throughout the week ahead. The multiple days of rain that we expect could be heavy at times, resulting in flash flooding and even river flooding in some areas.
Florida's Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) is urging residents and businesses from Tampa to Pensacola to prepare for the heavy rain, The Associated Press reported.
On Monday morning, numerous roads were flooded or closed in Perry, Florida. In just two hours the city received 4.5 inches of rainfall.
Flood watches have been issued for the Florida Nature Coast and Big Bend into Tuesday. Parts of western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, and far northeast Georgia are under flash flood watches into Monday.
An area of low pressure in the upper atmosphere, a stalling surface front, and abundant tropical moisture are the ingredients for this multi-day flood threat.
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Rainfall Forecast and Impacts
A broad swath of 3 to 5-inch rain amounts is expected across the northern and eastern Gulf Coast the next several days. Farther inland across the Southeast, several inches of rain may also fall in some areas.
Parts of the immediate Gulf Coast could see 5 to 12 inches of rain through this week, from extreme southeast Louisiana to northwest Florida.
Keep in my that very heavy amounts could fall in short periods of time where any slow-moving or stationary downpours set up, quickly triggering dangerous local flash flooding.
For example, on Monday morning 4.5 inches of rain fell in just two hours in Perry, Florida.
Some rivers in central and southwest Florida are expected to approach minor flood stage, and other rivers in the Florida Big Bend will likely rise due to extensive rainfall.
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As always, you should never attempt to drive through floodwaters, period.
It's easy to misjudge the depth of floodwater, particularly at night. Sometimes the bridge or road masked by flood water may have been undermined or completely washed out.
According to FEMA:
- 6 inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and potential stalling.
- 1 foot of water will float many vehicles.
- 2 feet of rushing water will carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickups.
In addition, if you live in a home that is located in a flood-prone area, be sure to stay alert of any potential rising floodwaters.
More from Weather.com: Difference Between a Watch and a Warning
Here is the rain that has already fallen:
This area of low pressure has comparatively humble beginnings:
Wednesday, over 7 inches of rain triggered severe flooding in Statesville, North Carolina, flooding the grounds at Statesville High School with up to waist-deep water and requiring 18 water rescues, according to WSOC TV.