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Tropical Storm Alex moves away, South Florida dries up after rain and flooding

Miami-Dade and Broward residents are cleaning up after over a foot of rain fell in parts of South Florida. Nine inches or more were not uncommon in parts of Broward, Miami-Dade, and the upper Florida Keys. The highest reading so far has come from Hollywood and Miami at over 13″ since Friday morning. Many areas saw flooded roads and stalled vehicles.

Dry air is sucked in at the rear flank of the system, which will significantly improve the weather on Sunday. Only isolated showers in the afternoon are to be expected. However, westerly winds in the wake of the disturbance will make for a very hot day, with highs in the 90’s.

We will observe a moisture trail left by the system. It’s currently draped over Cuba and the Bahamas, but will be pulled further north as we near the middle of the workweek. This will increase the chance of rain for South Florida in the coming days.

Alex moisture (WPLG)

After flying six full missions into what was once potential Tropical Cyclone One, the Air Force Hurricane Hunters this morning were finally able to locate a well-defined center of circulation about 175 miles east of Cape Canaveral, Florida. With winds already exceeding tropical storm strength (more than 39 mph) near its center, this finding allowed the Hurricane Center to christen Tropical Storm Alex — the first named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.

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The disturbance was not technically a tropical storm when it passed Florida, although its winds met 39 mph+ criteria. This is technical as the circulation at low levels was too large and wide to fit the definition.

At 9:00 a.m. Sunday, a new hurricane fighter plane just passed the Alex Traffic Center. While it’s still early in the mission, they’re finding winds near 80 mph at cruising altitude (about 5,000 feet above sea level), suggesting maximum surface winds near 60 mph, as per the morning’s update from NHC specified.

Alex is expected to make its closest approach to Bermuda on Monday afternoon, but should begin a weakening trend by then as it rapidly accelerates eastward and towards the open North Atlantic.

Back in South Florida, flooded areas continue to dry up after yesterday’s deluge. Preliminary totals show that some spots on the Miami subway received over a foot of precipitation during yesterday’s heavy rains. The map below shows 48-hour rainfall totals from select South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) locations (ending Sunday at 8 a.m.) throughout the area. Although these observations still need quality checking, they give a general sense of where some of the heaviest rainfall fell.

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local precipitation (WPLG)

The deluge caused by the storm is not uncommon for tropical systems at this time of year. In fact, two of Florida’s ten wettest tropical systems were hit by weak and disorganized storms in June. Tropical Storm Debby in 2012 brought 28″ to parts of Northwest Florida and the Panhandle. Tropical Depression One brought 25″ to the Tampa area in 1992. The atmosphere in June tends to be hostile to developing storms, keeping them from reaching strong winds, but they can bring copious amounts of precipitation.

June storms also form near land areas, usually in the western Caribbean or southern Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic is still a bit chilly and the stormy weather belt that spans the tropics and aids in storm formation is still a bit too far south. The Gulf and Caribbean are warming earlier, and nontropical lows falling off the US are bringing the spark needed to ignite preseason development.

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Aside from Alex, the tropics are calming down again. No new storms are expected at least until mid-week.

This latest tropical update was provided by hurricane specialist and storm surge expert Michael Lowry and local 10 News meteorologists Brandon Orr and Luke Dorris.

Alex gif (WPLG)

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https://www.local10.com/news/local/2022/06/05/tropical-storm-alex-moves-away-south-florida-drying-out-following-day-of-rain-and-flooding/ Tropical Storm Alex moves away, South Florida dries up after rain and flooding

Sarah Y. Kim

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