UPDATE, 12:45 p.m.: A tornado with winds of 65 to 85 mph touched down in Delray Beach on Thursday morning, the National Weather Service confirmed.
The tornado touched down in an area just north of Atlantic Avenue and west of Interstate 95. Authorities investigated an area bounded by Atlantic on the south, Homewood Boulevard on the west, Lake Ida Road on the north and Congress Avenue on the east.
The wind gusts toppled over trees and bent metal gates in the area. There was no immediate word about injuries.
The tornado was classified as an EF0, the least powerful one on the Enhanced Fujita scale that the weather service uses.
The area was under a tornado watch that ended at about 11 a.m.
UPDATE, 12:15 p.m.: Delray Beach police are directing traffic at Lake Ida Road and Congress Avenue, where traffic signals are flashing following a rush of wind that caused damage in the area Thursday morning.
The area in which authorities are assessing damage is bounded by Atlantic Avenue on the south, Homewood Boulevard on the west, Lake Ida on the north, Congress on the east. Parts of Delray Beach and Boynton Beach were under a tornado warning Thursday morning.
Police ask that motorists watch out for first responders in the area.
UPDATE, 11:55 a.m.: The National Weather Service has not confirmed whether a tornado touched down Thursday morning in Delray Beach.
Authorities are on the scene along Atlantic Avenue west of Interstate 95. Damages include bent metal gates and toppled-over trees. There was no immediate
report of injuries.
UPDATE 11:40 a.m.: Authorities officials are investigating wind damage in an area just west of Interstate 95 in Delray Beach to see whether a tornado touched down there.
The area, near Atlantic High School, is bounded by Atlantic Avenue on the south, Lake Ida Road on the north, Congress Avenue on the east and Homewood Boulevard on the west.
Delray Beach police are asking motorists to avoid the area at this time.
UPDATE 10:36 a.m.: A tornado warning has been issued for parts of southern Palm Beach County.
Radar indicates a strong thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado moving northeast at 35 mph. The warning is in effect until 11 a.m.
Robert Molleda, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Miami, said the storms are moving off the coast and that severe weather should be minimal until later tonight when a cold front pushes through.
“The current concerns are right along the coast,” Molleda said. “Our attention will then shift to a coastal squall line that will have potentially damaging wind gusts and possible tornadoes tonight.”
UPDATE 9:06 a.m.: Line of strong showers moving toward southeast Florida. Funnel clouds possible, according to National Weather Service.
Areas of Palm Beach County got upwards of 5 inches of rain in Wednesday’s deluge. Another 4 inches could fall today.
The county is under a flood watch through late tonight as the added rainfall could lead to significant flooding of streets and low-lying areas.
While this is the dry season for South Florida, coastal Palm Beach County has already received 14.5 inches of rain since November – 6 inches more than normal. Broward County has received 17.5 inches of rain, 10 inches more than normal. Miami-Dade is up to a whopping 20 inches of rain, which is 13.5 inches more than normal.
In Boynton Beach, the Links at Boynton Beach golf course got slammed Wednesday with rain.
An average of about 18 inches for the entire October to May dry season is normal for the 16-county region covered by the South Florida Water Management District.
“Embedded to severe storm development continues to be a concern, and isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Arlena Moses. “A brief break in activity may be possible late this morning, before additional storms arrive this afternoon with the approaching cold front.”
As of 7:30 a.m., a strong line of thunderstorms was setting up over the coast of Collier County moving east.
Today’s temperature could reach a high of 80 degrees, which will just exacerbate the stormy weather as the warm saturated air shoots into the atmosphere and cools.
The Storm Prediction Center has South Florida under a marginal risk for severe weather again today, which means there is a slight risk for tornadoes.
An EF-1 tornado ripped a 2.35 mile long path through Broward County on Wednesday, flipping over cars, uprooted large trees, pushed over a commuter bus and tore up roofs in a condominium complex.
The National Weather Service said the tornado had between 90 to 100 mph winds. It’s the sixth tornado this year, which is double the amount normal for January in the entire state.
Unlike two previous significant weather systems that raked through South Florida this month, the catalyst for these prolonged storms wasn’t a single neat and tidy event.
“It’s not just one low pressure system, but a whole stream of them running along a frontal boundary that is basically between Tampa and West Palm Beach,” said Dave Samuhel, a meteorologist with the Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather. “They’re just zipping down that line.”
El Nino has nudged the subtropical jet stream up over Florida and had it screaming at 130 mph at 30,000 feet on Wednesday. That swift wind ventilates the atmosphere, getting warm saturated air to shoot into the sky and form persistent storms.
In contrast, typical summertime thunderstorms form up in the afternoon when the sun heats the land, and diminish as the day cools down.
“The stronger your jet stream energy, the less sun you need,” Samuhel said. “It’s like an engine.”