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Flash Flooding, Waterspouts Early This Week for Tropics

May 01, 2012; 5:55 AM

A disturbance located near the Florida Straits will produce heavy showers and thunderstorms from the Bahamas to South Florida and parts of Cuba early this week.

As Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski stated in this story "this feature is associated with a pool of cool air at upper levels of the atmosphere and the tail end of an old frontal zone. This creates instability and leads to rising columns of air, producing showers and thunderstorms."

This same disturbance brought flash flooding to parts of Jamaica last week. Montego Bay picked up a quick 2.37 inches of rainfall on Thursday, prompting the issuance of a flash flood watches and warnings.

Nassau, Bahamas picked up over 2 inches of rain on Saturday, while Miami, Fla. has received over 2 inches of rain since midnight local time Sunday.

Things have quieted down somewhat across Jamaica and Cuba as the heaviest rains have shifted northward into the Bahamas and South Florida

This disturbance will shift from the Florida Straits westward into the eastern Gulf early this week while gradually weakening.

Through midweek, residents and tourists visiting central and southern Florida as well as the Bahamas should be aware of rapidly changing weather conditions.

Rain will fall throughout the region with occasional torrential downpours. Localized flash flooding of street and urban areas is possible through early this week as rain could fall at rates of greater than an inch per hour.

Along with the heavy rains, scattered thunderstorms could spawn isolated waterspouts. Any waterspout that develops could potentially shift onshore and cause minor damage.

In addition, gusty easterly winds will cause very rough surf and dangerous rip tides throughout the region.

Small craft advisories are in effect for much of this zone of the tropics as winds will gust to 30 knots at times, leading to wave heights of 4 to 8 feet over the open waters.

Boaters and mariners should take extreme caution if heading out on the waters the next few days.

Sosnowski also pointed out that "the rain is certainly needed as it is occurring during a dry part of the year and much of this region is experiencing abnormally dry to drought conditions."

However, the downfall to that is that vacationers and those with outdoor plans may not be happy with the forecast and the atmosphere's plans.

The good news is that by Tuesday and Wednesday, an area of high pressure will build over the western Atlantic, causing this disturbance to become squashed by strong winds aloft, thereby leading to gradually decreasing amounts of shower and thunderstorm activity.

Though there are some signs that some of this remnant moisture could get drawn northward into more of central Florida and parts of the Gulf Coast by midweek.

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