More than 40 inches over usual, Fort Lauderdale has received nearly 100 inches of rain this year.
Severe Rainfall in Florida
On Tuesday afternoon, 7 million East Coast Floridians were under a flood watch for severe rain Wednesday and Thursday. The flood watch included Cape Canaveral to Miami, including Melbourne, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. Major prediction models began predicting a narrow axis of heavy rain on Tuesday morning that may bring 6 inches or more of rain to the metropolitan I-95 corridor, specifically from West Palm Beach to Miami. The Bahamas-to-South Florida inverted trough will be the first element in a probable major rain event. Showers and thunderstorms start at inverted troughs. The area’s heaviest rain will depend on where a slow-moving frontal barrier lifting north from the Keys forms. If it stalls, that boundary will concentrate slow-moving thunderstorms that might train over the same location for hours, causing flash flooding. The timing of heavy rain, storms, and onshore winds during high tide may increase flooding.
Florida meteorologists warned Tuesday morning that such settings are historically favorable for big rainfall events that can bring 1 to 2 inches per hour and 6 inches or more of rain in a few hours. As of Tuesday afternoon, the major forecast models still predicted 6 to 12 inches of rain for a fairly localized area between West Palm Beach and Miami by Thursday afternoon. Meteorologists said it’s tough to determine where the most rain would fall, but if the conditions are correct, the downpour could flood infrastructure and make travel dangerous. The east of Florida is drought-free and doesn’t need rain.
Extreme rainfall has hit Fort Lauderdale before, including this year. The airport’s official reporting station received 22.5 inches of rain on April 12. Several nearby places received 25 inches. That broke the April 25, 1979 record of 14.59 inches for the wettest calendar day. That catastrophe is also why Fort Lauderdale is having its wettest year ever with 98.25 inches of rain. To date, 41.91 inches over average.