WEATHER 0620 Linda Phillips and Madeline Ayala put umbrellas to use as they cross the street in downtown Ft. Lauderdale at the Broward County Government Center. A tropical system over Cuba is sending wet weather across South Florida ont he first day of summer.
The skies opened up across South Florida overnight.
A tropical disturbance centered near Cuba is expected to produce 2 to 4 inches of rain over South Florida. Periods of heavy rain moved in Tuesday evening and will likely last through Friday. Some areas could see considerably more.
“The main threat is going to be the potential for flooding,” said meteorologist Alex Gibbs of the National Weather Service in Miami.
Meanwhile, at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Tropical Storm Chris emerged in the Atlantic about 560 miles southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland, Canada. It’s the third system of the young 2012 hurricane season – and no threat to land.
The National Hurricane Center is monitoring the Caribbean disturbance, saying “conditions are not particularly conducive” for the system to develop as it lumbers northwest at 5 to 10 mph.
As of 2 a.m. Wednesday, the hurricane center gave the area of low pressure a 10 percent chance of strengthening into a tropical depression or storm over the next two days.
In the meantime, it likely will bring heavy rain to the Cayman Islands, Cuba, the Bahamas and South Florida, senior hurricane specialist Dan Brown said.
The bulk of the rains from the disturbance were expected Tuesday evening and Wednesday. Much of the region should receive 1 to 3 inches during that time. There also should be some thunderstorms in the squally mix, Gibbs said.
Officially, the South Florida forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of rain on Wednesday with east winds of 15 mph with gusts up to 20 mph.
Central Florida might see the outer fringes of the system, but shouldn’t receive as much rainfall as South Florida, the weather service said. Orlando’s forecast calls for scattered showers and thunderstorms Wednesday with an overall 30 percent chance of rain and then a 60 percent chance on Thursday.
South Florida might not see a nice sunny day again until next week, Gibbs said.
“Things stay fairly wet through Friday and really through the weekend,” he said.