Flood threat in Florida as hurricane center tracks 2 systems

ORLANDO, Fla. — The National Hurricane Center was tracking two systems with a chance to develop into the season’s next tropical depression or storm including one off the coast of Florida and one in the Caribbean.

The system brewing near South Florida is an area of low pressure that already has brought a flooding threat to the state with a flood watch up the coast from Miami to Volusia County as well as inland portions of Brevard and Volusia counties.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Marathon, Big Pine Key and Key Colony Beach through 7 a.m. EST Wednesday as bands moved across the state.

The heavy rains that have already dropped as much as 5 inches through Tuesday in some places could combine with king tides along the state’s southeast coast to further the flood threat. The National Weather Service in Miami said some areas of South Florida could see well over 10 inches of rain through Thursday.

For Central Florida, the NWS in Melbourne said the region could see 20-25 mph winds with gusts up to 40 mph along the coast and inland to about Interstate 95 and 15-20 mph winds with 30 mph gusts across the rest of east Central Florida. A wind advisory is in place through at least Thursday afternoon.

Coastal erosion is expected to continue as well with 6- to 9-foot-large breaking waves, rough surf and wave run-up to the dune line at high tide. Coastal Volusia is still recovering from severe erosion from hurricanes Ian and Nicole in 2022.

“During yesterday morning`s high tide, many beaches were completely covered by surf to the seawall and dunes, and waves were running up into access roads and walkways,” NWS forecasters said.

It’s forecast to move to the northeast near the Bahamas and offshore of the U.S. East Coast into the weekend.

“Although development into a tropical cyclone appears unlikely, this system is expected to produce gusty winds and heavy rains across portions of southern Florida, the Florida Keys and the Bahamas during the next couple of days,” forecasters said.

The National Hurricane Center gives it a 10% chance to develop in the next two to seven days.

In the southwestern Caribbean, the NHC has dialed back slightly the prediction of development of a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms from a broad trough of low pressure.

“Environmental conditions appear marginally conducive for development of this system, and a tropical depression could form late this week while the system begins moving northeastward across the western and central portions of the Caribbean Sea,” forecasters said.

It could threaten Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands in the coming days, the NHC warned.

“Regardless of development, this system has the potential to produce heavy rains over portions of the Caribbean coast of Central America and the Greater Antilles through the end of this week,” forecasters said.

The NHC gives it a 40% chance to develop in the next two days and 50% chance in the next seven.

The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, has already produced 21 official systems and 19 named storms. The final available names from the year’s initial 21-name list are Vince and Whitney.