FORECAST: Rainy, soggy conditions will continue

UPDATE, 8:30 a.m.: For the next several days, more normal wet season pattern conditions are in the forecast, which may cause some flooding of roadways with poor drainage, or in low lying areas.

Another round of deep moisture will return by the end of the week.

Local areas are experiencing the following rainfall levels:

Boca Raton – 1.97″

West Palm Beach  – 1.95″

Jupiter – 2.11″

A flood advisory has been extended for Martin County until 10:30 a.m. Some locations that will experience flooding include
Port Saint Lucie, Walton, Fort Pierce, Stuart and Fellsmere.

UPDATE, 7:30 a.m.: The National Weather Service has extended the flood advisory until 8:30 a.m. for St. Lucie County, Central Indian River County and Central Martin County.

The radar indicates heavy rain due to thunderstorms. This will cause minor flooding in the advisory areas.

Some locations that will experience flooding include Port Saint Lucie, Walton, Fort Pierce, Sebastian and Stuart.

UPDATE, 5:50 a.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory until 7:30 a.m. for St. Lucie County and Martin County. Light to moderate rain is expected throughout the day for Palm Beach County. There is also a high risk of rip currents on Atlantic beaches.

The radar indicates heavy rain and isolated lightning storms that will cause minor flooding in the advisory area. Up to one to two inches of rain has already fallen.

Some locations that will experience flooding include Port Saint Lucie, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City and White City.

UPDATE, 8:45 p.m.: The National Weather Service expects more light to moderate rain through the night, with some heavier rain along the coast later at night. About one to four added inches of can be possible.

Additionally, the flood watch in Broward County has been extended through noon on Monday.

UPDATE, 4 p.m.: Tonight’s weather in West Palm Beach will likely be much of the same. The National Weather Service predicts a 60 percent chance of rain with showers and a possible thunderstorm before 8 p.m., then scattered rain and thunderstorms between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. Monday.

Some of the storms could produce heavy rain, the weather service said.

There is also a high rip current risk in effect through Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service. The rip currents will be dangerous along the Atlantic beaches.

UPDATE, 11 a.m.: The National Weather Service has expired the flood watch for Palm Beach County.

“The heaviest rain is over and most of the highest accumulations occurred in rural areas (in Palm Beach County),” said NWS meteorologist Steven Ippoliti in a release.

The flood watch will continue, however, for Broward County, as that region has received the brunt of South Florida rain the last two days. The flood watch will be extended until 8 p.m. today in Broward.

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Forecasters say the rain may continue through the afternoon in the form of scattered showers and a possible thunderstorm. The chance of precipitation for the rest of today is 60 percent. That rain chance continues through tonight into tomorrow morning.

According to the South Florida Water Management District, slightly more than 2 inches of rain had fallen in coastal Palm Beach County in the 24 hours ending at 8 a.m. today. Rural parts of the county have seen more than 3 inches in some spots.

ORIGINAL STORY: A flood watch is in effect for Palm Beach County until 11 a.m.

Showers and some thunderstorms, along with heavy rainfall, will periodically impact South Florida today, according to the weather service.

Check today’s rain with our radar. Click here.

Rain is likely to continue through the evening, and the forecast calls for similar weather throughout the early week, with rain especially heavy tomorrow before tapering to scattered showers Tuesday.

According to a weather service report this morning, much of Palm Beach County is expected to get upwards of two inches of rain through Wednesday.

JUST IN: Significant hazardous marine conditions this weekend following front

GOES-16 satellite imagery of winter storm hitting the Northeast and expected to bring high seas and cool weather to South Florida.

A wrecking ball of a winter storm is about to bust up the recent hot weather with a fury that meteorologists predict could bring up to 15-foot seas to Palm Beach County’s coastline and send life-threatening flooding into the Northeast.

A low pressure system, whose strength was still in debate just days ago, is now expected to undergo an explosive strengthening as it harasses states from Virginia to Maine with peak wind gusts of hurricane force possible along the coast. The forecast drop in atmospheric pressure of at least 24 millibars in 24 hours or less is called bombogenesis.

LIVE RADAR: Check out The Palm Beach Post radar map

In South Florida, the National Weather Service is warning of coastal flooding, powerful rip currents, high seas and beach erosion building into Sunday through mid-week.

The highest seas along Palm Beach County’s coast are expected Sunday night at between 12-15 feet.

“With the marine and coastal concerns this weekend, and next week, we will be providing a daily briefing through at least the weekend, and possibly into the beginning of the week,” said Steven Ippoliti, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami. “The main concerns are hazardous seas and beach erosion. Also, relative humidity may impact some of those with fire weather concerns, as the RH may drop into the 20s.”

In Massachusetts, voluntary evacuations of some coastal communities during high tides have been recommended with forecasters in the Boston office of the National Weather Service calling the advancing storm a “life and death” situation.

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“Exacerbating the event will be the highest tides of the month — more than a foot above average, associated with the full moon,” said Weather Underground co-founder Jeff Masters in his Cat 6 blog. “The Northeast U.S. will receive a punishing assault from a large storm surge and high waves that will last through three high tide cycles.”

For South Florida, the storm will punch through a cold front Friday, dropping temperatures from a Thursday high of 85 to a forecast high Saturday of 75. Sunday morning temperatures are expected to be in the mid- to high-50s along the coast, with inland areas dipping into the 40s.

The cold weather will be an abrupt change to February, which ended with an average temperature in West Palm Beach of 75.3 degrees, breaking a 59-year old record of 74.4 set in 1959.

“I’m still peeling from two crazy sunburns that I got last month. It was hot,” said Grace Kalinsky, who recently moved to West Palm Beach and was enjoying the sun Thursday at City Place. “But I’m from Connecticut so everything feels hot and humid here.”

Read more about February’s record heat in the full story at MyPalmBeachPost.com. 

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Rain, clouds all day before Wednesday break

The low pressure system spinning in Florida’s Big Bend area will continue to send wet weather into Palm Beach County today, before retreating west Wednesday.

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A 70 percent chance of rain is expected today with showers diminishing this evening as winds begin to shift more out of the east and stay that way into Friday.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

It’s that deep tropical moisture flowing in from the south from the cyclonic spin of the system in the Gulf that is bringing all the moisture into South Florida.

Miami meteorologists said there is a moderate chance of thunderstorms, with a main concern being gusty winds and lightning.

A lightning death Friday on Florida’s Okaloosa Island brings the number of lightning fatalities in Florida to six. According to WEAR TV the victim was a 22-year-old man who rented beach umbrellas.

Read: Truths and myths about lightning strikes

There have been 22 lightning deaths nationwide. The average for this time of year is 24, said NWS lightning expert John Jensenius.

The Tampa area has been one of the hardest hit regions by the stubborn system. Flood watches remain in effect today for Levy, Hernando, Citrus and Pasco counties.

At least two inches of rain is expected near Tampa today.

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“As for today, abundant tropical  moisture combined with the lingering surface and mid-level low will again support numerous showers and a few storms over the region with slow moving bands of rain or the training of cells keeping a threat of some very heavy rain and possible flooding over the forecast area,” meteorologists wrote in their morning discussion.

A high pressure system building in the western Atlantic will help turn off the gushing showers.

Through the weekend, the high is expected to strengthen and remain mostly stationary with the best chances of rain happening on the west coast and inland.

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Nuisance flooding from sea level rise up 50 percent last year

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the number of nuisance flood days in the U.S. jumped 50 percent during the meteorological year May 2015 to April 2016.

High tide flooding creeps up to the front steps of a home on Marine Way in Delray Beach in this October 2015 photo. Photo by Kimberly Miller
High tide flooding creeps up to the front steps of a home on Marine Way in Delray Beach in this October 2015 photo. Photo by Kimberly Miller

Several areas, including Miami and Key West, broke records for the number of days where high tides caused water to overtake sea walls and rush into streets.

In Miami, where the tidal gauge is measured at Virginia Key, there were 18 nuisance flood days. Key West had 14 days.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

“Tidal flooding is increasing in frequency within the U.S. coastal communities due to sea level rise from climate change and local land subsidence (sinking),” a report released this week by NOAA says. “Decades ago, powerful storms caused such impacts, but due to sea level rise, more common events are more impactful.”

The study looked at 28 long-term gauges across the U.S.

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Read: Humans causing fastest rate of sea level rise in 3,000 years. 

While none of the gauges were in Palm Beach County, the region did suffer from nuisance or “sunny day” flooding in the fall, especially in areas along the Intracoastal.

In September and October, municipal officials from Jupiter to Boca Raton were ready with “road closed” signs as streets known to flood were shut down.

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NOAA measurements taken from a buoy off Lake Worth show sea levels rising at 3.36 millimeters per year, or 1.10 feet in 100 years. That’s similar to readings at Marathon Key that show a 3.34 millimeter increase per year, and Tampa, which is measuring an annual increase of 3.15 millimeters.

It’s considerably below New Orleans, which is experiencing a 9.03 millimeter rise in sea levels per year, or 3 feet over 100 years.

Still, the impact on South Florida is evident any time more than gravitational or atmospheric or oceanic power combines to embolden coastal waters.

A bicyclist heads up Lake Trail in Palm Beach after it flooded Oct. 27 when water rushed in from the Intracoastal Waterway. A combination of the full moon, high tide, and sea level rise are blamed for the flooding. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
A bicyclist heads up Lake Trail in Palm Beach after it flooded Oct. 27 when water rushed in from the Intracoastal Waterway. A combination of the full moon, high tide, and sea level rise are blamed for the flooding. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

“A few inches matters in South Florida when we have such a low land elevation,” said Jayantha Obeysekera, chief modeler for hydrologic and environmental systems at the South Florida Water Management District in October.

The flooding into backyards and streets in September when the moon reached perigee — the closest it comes to Earth in its orbit — simultaneously with it becoming full and a lunar eclipse, was some of the worst local officials said they’ve seen.

“Impacts of nuisance flooding include degraded storm water systems, infiltration into waste-water systems, contamination of fresh water supplies and salt-water flooding of roads, homes and businesses,” the report says. “Tidal flooding is disrupting commerce and ways of life.”

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Seasage Drive, Delray Beach, during September's full moon flooding. Photo courtesy of the office of Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams
Seasage Drive, Delray Beach, during September’s full moon flooding. Photo courtesy of the office of Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams

Despite drenching, March rainfall below normal for South Florida

Last week saw strong storms drenching Boca Raton and northern Palm Beach County, but the rain wasn’t enough to bring March up to normal for the month in South Florida.

According to the South Florida Water Management District, 2.10 inches of rain have fallen in coastal areas of Palm Beach County in March, about 73 percent of what is normal for this time of the month.

In the 16-county region that is managed by the district, rainfall is about 1.27 inches, down 55 percent from the historic norm.

Heavy rains flooded the Jupiter West Plaza parking lot in Jupiter causing shoppers to brave high waters on Friday, March 25, 2016. (Daniel Owen / The Palm Beach Post)
Heavy rains flooded the Jupiter West Plaza parking lot in Jupiter causing shoppers to brave high waters on Friday, March 25, 2016. (Daniel Owen / The Palm Beach Post)

And that’s probably a good thing.

For the year, the 16 counties are nearly 7 inches above normal. 

Coastal Palm Beach County is about 5.5 inches above normal.

The extra rainfall spells trouble for water managers who have to figure out where to put it all.

Lake Okeechobee is still above 15 feet and damaging fresh water continues to gush into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

On Thursday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it would not reduce releases any further than what it had the previous week. 

Currently, about 756 million gallons per day is flowing into the St. Lucie River. About 2 billion gallons per day is going into the Caloosahatchee.

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But abnormally low rainfall is not what was forecast for this month. The Climate Prediction Center said earlier this year that March would be abnormally rainy in Florida.

“The highest probabilities of increased precipitation are in Florida, where the impacts of El Nino work out with more certainty than other places in the country,” said Climate Prediction Center researcher Huug van den Dool. “March, April and May will be above normal again.”

And March may still be abnormally wet. With four days left in the month, the forecast is for rain every day — chances ranging between 20 percent and 70 percent.

Forecasters warn of possible flooding from persistent rains

The National Weather Service is warning that minor street flooding is possible in urban areas of Southeast Florida as a low pressure system continues to dump rain in the region through this afternoon.

Although no advisories have been issued, forecasters said up to 3 inches of rain is possible in some localized areas. The most vulnerable areas to flooding are in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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By mid to late afternoon, the system responsible for the rain is expected to move away from South Florida, which will lower the wind speeds and reduce the threat of flooding. The broad surface low is currently between the Bahamas and Cuba.

Rainfall amounts of .5 to 1 inch are still expected, but localized heavier amounts are possible.

High temperatures today are expected to reach 72 degrees, with a low tonight of 62 degrees.

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