Thunderstorm concerns increased, could hit near rush hour today

Update 5:21 p.m.: Gusty showers along a cold front are moving offshore into Palm Beach coastal waters.

Winds are gusting upwards of 34 mph. National Weather Service is asking mariners to use caution.

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Previous story: The Storm Prediction Center has increased the chances for thunderstorms this afternoon in South Florida as a cool front moves through the state.

Forecasters at the Norman, Okla.-based facility say areas from the tip of the peninsula to north of Lake Okeechobee are vulnerable to thunderstorms and lightning as the warming air interacts with the frontal boundary.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

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The storms are expected to be isolated, but National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said a results form a morning balloon launch found temperatures and moisture levels in the atmosphere primed for the kind of instability that can ignite storms.

The so-called “convective available potential energy” is above 2,500 joules per kilogram, which is considered large.

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Satellite image taken at 11:45 a.m.

Satellite image taken at 11:45 a.m.

“Based on current forecasts in temperature and moisture, instability should be plenty sufficient,” forecasters wrote. “Limiting factors, however, will be abundant cloud cover, poor mid-level lapse rates and weak forcing ahead of the approaching weakening cold front boundary.”

Gusty winds to 40 mph, lightening and localized heavy rainfall are the biggest concerns for this afternoon into early evening.

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A man walks through a downpour along S. Olive Ave. just south of Clematis St. Wednesday afternoon as rain begins to enter the downtown area May 4, 2016. A significant weather advisory has been issued for frequent lightning, small hail and winds up to 55 mph for eastern Palm Beach County until 2:45 p.m.. Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post

A man walks through a downpour along S. Olive Ave. just south of Clematis St. on May 4, 2016. Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post

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