Vero Beach has wettest day on record with nearly 10 inches of rain

Update 9:45 p.m.: Indian River County is under a National Weather Service flood advisory through 11:15 p.m.

The weather service indicated that periods of moderate to occasionally heavy rain is possible through 11 p.m. and could continue to cause minor flooding.

Classes for Wednesday were canceled at the Vero Beach High School main campus and the freshman learning center, school district official said earlier this evening.

Update 8:20 p.m.: A special weather statement has been issued for inland southern Palm Beach County for thunderstorms that may contain small hail, lightning and are capable of producing winds up to 55 mph.

The advisory is in effect through 9:15 p.m.

Update 7:45 p.m.: Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue overnight in Palm Beach County, but with the atmosphere cooling, there is less of a concern for strong to severe storms and tornadoes, according to NWS forecasters in Miami.

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Still, heavy rain and minor urban flooding may occur in some locations.

Vero Beach meanwhile experienced its wettest day in history with more than 9.78 inches of rain through 7 p.m. National Weather Service records date back to 1942.

The second wettest day on record was in January 1957 when Vero Beach got 8.82 inches of rain.

Update, 7:15 p.m.: The National Weather Service has put a marine warning in place for the waters off St. Lucie County until 8:30 p.m.

Impacts are likely near the Fort Pierce Inlet and Fort Pierce Ocean Park.

Thunderstorms strong enough to produce waterspouts and powerful winds were located just off Fort Pierce at 7 p.m., the weather service said. Other storms are expected to push offshore south of the inlet.

Waterspouts can easily overturn boats and damage small crash with sudden waves and strong winds. Boaters should move their crafts to safe harbors.

Update, 6:10 p.m.: Graduation services for Port St. Lucie High School have been postponed due to inclement weather. The ceremony, originally for tonight at 7, has been moved to 10 a.m. Wednesday at Adams Arena in Fort Pierce, the St. Lucie County School District reported on its Twitter account.

In Indian Rivier County, classes for Wednesday have been canceled at the Vero Beach High School main campus and the freshman learning center, school district official said.

Update 5 p.m. Thunderstorms have tormented St. Lucie and Indian River counties this afternoon with more than seven inches of rain falling in Vero Beach.

A tornado is also believed to have touched down in Fort Pierce with damage to a mobile home park and at least one home.

The National Weather Service in Melbourne said up to five trailers were damaged in Road Runner trailer park on St. Lucie Blvd.

In Indian River County, wind damage was done to about 20 homes, with two severely damaged, according to the Melbourne forecast office. It’s unclear if the Indian River damage was from a tornado.

National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said two to four inches of rain have already fallen over interior areas of South Florida with another one to three inches possible through this evening.

On Wednesday, up to four inches is also possible.

If that trend continues, a flood watch for portions of interior South Florida might be issued overnight.

Update 4 p.m. A significant weather advisory has been issued for Broward and southern Palm Beach Counties as a strong thunderstorm near Miramar moves northeast at 15 mph.

The advisory, which is in effect until 5:15 p.m., includes Boca Raton and Wellington.

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This picture by Morgan Guigon was taken in western Broward County where a tornado warning is in effect until 5 p.m.

Update 3:10 p.m. A line of strong thunderstorms capable of producing funnel clouds and up to nickel-sized hail is moving toward northwest Palm Beach County at 25 mph.

Forecasters issued a significant weather advisory ahead of the storm. The advisory, which also warns of excessive lightning and wind gusts up to 55 mph.

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Locations impacted include Belle Glade, Pahokee, Clewiston and South Bay.

Tornado warnings have been issued for areas north of Palm Beach County, including Fort Pierce and Vero Beach.

 

Update 2:32 p.m. The National Weather Service in Miami has issued a significant weather advisory for southwestern Palm Beach County as storms begin rolling in.

The biggest concerns with these storms are small hail, lightning and wind gusts up to 55 mph.

Forecasters say the thunderstorms are moving northeast at 15 mph. Torrential rain and funnel clouds are also possible with these storms.

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This funnel cloud was reported in Vero Beach at about 2:10 p.m.

Update 1:57 p.m. A massive clutch of thunderstorms moving in from the Gulf of Mexico could give South Florida a one-two punch of severe weather today.

Robert Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami, said the system could push out storms in front of it, but may also provide a second round of thunderstorms overnight.

The storms are technically called a mesoscale convective system, or MCS. Forecasters aren’t sure yet how the system will impact the expected afternoon storms, which are being caused mostly by southeast winds and daytime heating.

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Update 12:09 p.m. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a special weather alert for Florida, calling for the possibility of severe hail and damaging winds this afternoon.

Scattered to widespread storms are expected throughout the peninsula and the center said it will upgrade parts of Florida to a marginal risk of severe weather in its 12:30 update. Marginal is the lowest risk level on a five-tier scale.

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There is a 5 percent chance of hail and a 2 percent chance of tornadoes in Palm Beach County.

Warm tropical air blowing in from from the south with temperatures warming into the mid 80s is what’s setting the stage for organized multi-cell thunderstorms with the possibility of supercells, forecasters said.

At the same time, a cluster of storms in the Gulf of Mexico is moving west with strong westerly winds aloft.

“We have that trough system coming in and that’s making things more unstable also,” said Anthony Reynes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami. “We are emphasizing more showers, more thunderstorms and the chance for stronger thunderstorms.”

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A short line of thunderstorms over areas of West Palm Beach is kicking off what forecasters are calling a “fairly messy forecast.”

This week could begin the rainy season for South Florida, with a 70 percent chance of rain today.

While the morning may clear out, late afternoon showers are still expected. Wet weather than will continue through the weekend.

The National Weather Service in Miami also notes this morning that West Palm Beach tied a record warm overnight low Monday with a temperature that dipped only to 78 that tied 1905.

The rainy season typically begins in mid to late May, although the beginning isn’t usually identified until days later when a consistent pattern appears. The 2015 rainy season began on May 10, while it started on May 26 two years ago.

“It’s hard to really project the official start,” said Dave Ross, a meteorologist with the NWS in Miami. “It is kind of looking tomorrow like we are getting into the summertime pattern of afternoon storms.”

This week’s weather, which will see temperatures reach into the mid-80s in most of Palm Beach County, is partly because of a high-pressure system to the northeast of the state. Its clockwise churn carries tropical air into Florida on east southeast winds.

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