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  1. Hurricane

Tropical wave hammers Florida with rain, Atlantic disturbance unlikely to become tropical system

All that extra rain this week is thanks to a tropical wave over the state. It leaves today, but the rain will stay.
Satellite imagery from Friday, August 3, 2019 shows a tropical wave (top left) over Florida bringing heavy rains, while a disturbance over the Atlantic Ocean (bottom right) continues to be monitored.
Published Aug. 2
Updated Aug. 2

The wait for the next named storm continued Friday as the National Hurricane Center said it’s even less likely a disturbance it’s been monitoring will form into a tropical depression during the next five days.

Meanwhile, other factors will continue to pound Florida with rain throughout the next week, following days of flood-inducing downpours.

According to the latest Hurricane Center release, the disturbance’s chance of formation within five days dropped from 70 to 40 percent overnight.

The disturbance, called Invest 96L, is currently several hundred miles southeast of Barbados in the Atlantic Ocean and moving northwest around 15 mph. Though the chances of it forming within five days have lessened, it could still pose a risk next week as it moves through waters east of the Virgin Islands.

Forecasters, however, added that upper-level winds could be less conducive for development as it gets closer to the Islands around Tuesday or Wednesday.

Forecasting models offer differing views on where 96L could go. The European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecast shows 96L weakening as it passes near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, then curving back into the Atlantic. The Weather Service’s Global Forecast System shows 96L being pushed west along a high-pressure ridge, where it’d head for the Florida Straits. Neither shows much strengthening.

“The biggest thing to note with it is it’s been a weakening trend,” National Weather Service forecaster Austen Flannery said. “Both models show it not holding together for very long.”

If it does form, Invest 96L would become Chantal, the third named storm of the season.

And while 96L’s future is yet to be determined, the Tampa Bay area has spent the last few days being hammered with downpours that could continue through the weekend.

A tropical wave that started over the eastern Caribbean earlier this week could’ve itself become Chantal, but never formed. It did, however, make its way over Florida, which is why we’ve been seeing such heavy rains, Flannery said.

The wave is expected to head out Friday, just in time for a system of upper-level lop pressure is off the coast of Florida, ready to pound the state with more rain over the weekend.

Thunderstorms could pop any time Friday, Flannery said. Over the weekend, rain — including downpours and storms — will move over coastal areas early and make their way inland as the day goes on.

“Rain,” Flannery said, “is the big story — weather wise — for the weekend.”

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