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A few nice days followed by more torrential rainfall

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Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, was an awesome day across southwest Florida. Dew points tumbled to the upper 60’s by late in the afternoon, while skies above were dotted only with fair weather cumulus clouds. Rain was a no-show. Many locals wanted to take the day off and enjoy the best weather the area has experienced in months.

Today promises to be almost a carbon copy day, except that the dew points have risen a few degrees and cumulus clouds formed earlier and are bit bigger (horizontally and vertically). There could a light shower or sprinkle somewhere in the southwest Florida area this afternoon.

However, the weather pattern is going to be transitioning into wetness almost as quickly as it went from wet to dry between Thursday and Friday this week. By Monday, widespread, heavy thunderstorms will be back thanks to a stalling frontal zone and a resurgence of tropical moisture. The thunderstorm pattern should continue into mid-week before calming down a bit.

Computer models are suggesting widespread three to five inch thunderstorm-generated rainfall across southwest Florida north to Tampa. In the Florida Panhandle, rainfall of four to six inches is anticipated. As a general rule, one can double the average areal rainfall numbers to estimate expected localized maximum amounts. Hence, the so-called “Sunshine State,” will be looking for eight to twelve inch local rainfall totals during the three-day period Monday to Wednesday (Sept. 23 – Sept. 25, 2013).

Since lake levels are high, the water table is near the surface and, in many places, water remains standing where it hasn’t been for years, any significant heavy rainfall can spell localized ponding and/or flooding. If the anticipated thunderstorms move slowly or if a series of thunderstorms moves over the same area, lots of heavy rain can fall quickly.

Look for periodic updates during the next few days. However, readers can monitor local TV, local NWS office web pages, NOAA Weather Radio and/o the Weather Channel for updates, as well.

The most important thing to remember, once the rains arrive, is to drive slowly and carefully, especially when water covers roadways. If you aren’t sure how deep the water may be, turning around and finding an alternate route would make a lot of sense. A few extra minutes of driving surely beats a major repair or total water damage loss of your car.

© 2013 H. Michael Mogil

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