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Rain, wind, and coastal flooding possible as tropical system approaches Florida by midweek

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Meteorologist Justin Ballard
/
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network
Models are in agreement that whether Invest 98-L becomes tropical or subtropical, it will create unsettled weather for Florida this week.

A low pressure north of Puerto Rico is expected to develop early this week and it could lead to significant impacts along Florida's east coast by midweek.

Surface observations late Sunday show a broad area of low pressure located approximately 150 miles north of Puerto Rico, producing a wide area of showers, thunderstorms, and rough seas. Ship measurements depict winds on the northern periphery of this low in excess of 35 miles per hour. The environmental conditions surrounding this area of low pressure will support continued development, with a tropical or subtropical depression possible. Regardless of tropical or subtropical designation, significant impacts to portions of the Peninsula are expected by midweek.

Models suggest squally showers approach the east coast by Tuesday afternoon, with periods of heavy rain and winds in excess of 40 miles per hour. Wind forecasts suggest gusts could occasionally reach to hurricane-force, which is 74 miles per hour. If this forecast trend maintains itself, hurricane watches may be issued for portions of the east coast of Florida Monday. Conditions are forecast to be most unsettled Wednesday into Thursday, as this system comes ashore somewhere along Florida's eastern shores. Storm surge, coastal flooding, and coastal erosion will likely peak during this time as easterly winds pile up water along the First Coast and Space Coast.

Rainfall is a crucial aspect of the forecast for many along and south of the I-4 corridor, as many hard-hit areas from Hurricane Ian in late-September could receive several inches out of this system. The heaviest rain is likely to occur in coastal areas, where widespread totals of 3 to 5 inches could fall, with locally higher amounts possible. Flood warnings along the St. Johns River north of the Orlando area continue following Ian's deluge, and with additional rainfall expected this week, those warnings will undoubtedly continue.

A statement released Sunday by the Florida Division of Emergency Management encourages preparedness ahead of Invest 98-L. "It is critical for Floridians to review their disaster preparedness plans and follow all directions from local officials in anticipation of potential impacts," FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie said.

Residents are encouraged to stay up-to-date on the forecast in the days ahead, as the forecast continues to be fine-tuned. The Atlantic hurricane season goes on until November 30.