Waterspouts possible today as South Florida rainy season nears

The rainy season typically starts near mid-May in South Florida and it looks to be right on schedule if this week’s forecast holds true.

The National Weather Service in Miami  is expecting rain to begin in earnest tomorrow, with a 70 percent chance of showers as an east-southeasterly wind pulls warm, tropical air north.

That wind pattern, in addition to the boundary of a clockwise churning high-pressure system along the coast, is also kicking up the chances for waterspouts, said Larry Kelly, a meteorologist with the NWS in Miami.

Water spout Sunday, July 28, 2013 off Boynton Beach. Jennifer Nelson/Contributed

Water spout Sunday, July 28, 2013 off Boynton Beach. Jennifer Nelson/Contributed

“We’ve had a few showers off the coast that we were watching and the potential is there for waterspouts,” Kelly said. “There could be a cell out there that generates one. Boaters should just exercise caution.”

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The winds are also going to increase humidity today with dew points expected to reach into the low 70s.

Today, the chances for rain are 20 percent, increasing to 40 percent tonight. Forecasters note that precipitable water – the measure of the depth of water that would result at the surface if all water vapor in an air column were to fall as rain – is 1.75 inches.

But most of that is expected to fall more in the interior of the state as sea breezes from each coast collide.

Rain has been sparse this spring with just 0.76 inches falling at Palm Beach International Airport this month. In April, just 1.46 inches of rain fell, which is 2.2 inches below normal.

The 2015 rainy season began on May 10, according to the NWS in Miami. That’s about 10 days before normal.

Today’s high is supposed to reach 86 degrees, which is exactly the norm for this time of year.

The overnight low is expected to dip to just 77 degrees, which is six degrees above normal.

“We haven’t officially started rainy season, but it could be any day  now,” Kelly said. “Finally.”

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