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Heavy Rain May Lead To A Few Pockets Of Flooding Tuesday Night In Northwest Florida

Flash Flood Watch in effect over parts of the Panhandle
Flash Flood Watch in effect over parts of the Panhandle

Update: A Flash Flood Watch has been issued over Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, valid Tuesday evening through Friday morning. During this time period, a rainfall amounts between 5 to 10 inches are expected, with locally higher accumulations possible. This heavy rain is expected to inundate already saturated ground: Urban flooding and swift increases in local waterway levels will be possible.  The dry pattern from the weekend over Northwest Florida is about to turn wetter and stormier Tuesday night into Wednesday.

A strong trough of low pressure is forecast to move from the southern into the central Plains on Tuesday. At the same time, a ridge of high pressure will build over the Florida peninsula. This will leave the western Florida Panhandle in a broad southwesterly wind flow between these two weather features, sending copious moisture into the area from the Gulf of Mexico.

Weak disturbances in the upper atmosphere are expected to combine with the moistening air mass to produce bouts of heavy rain starting Tuesday night and lasting into Wednesday. Widespread rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are becoming increasingly likely, which could be enough to produce a few pockets of flash flooding. At the moment, severe thunderstorms are not forecast, but thunderstorms are likely and will enhance rainfall rates in areas that receive them.

 Occasional showers are possible late Wednesday and Thursday, but there are signs that the widespread heavy rain will ease for awhile. A strong cold front is likely to arrive Thursday night into Friday, and may produce strong or severe thunderstorms as it pushes through. The forecast for thunderstorms will probably change later this week, so residents are encouraged to check in periodically as predictability improves.

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Ray Hawthorne
Megan Borowski