UPDATED: 3 AM EASTERN TIME
The latest estimate from the National Hurricane Center predicts that potential tropical cyclone Alex is expected to generate heavy rains of between 4 to 8 inches of rain, but some local rainfall could exceed 12 inches. Maximum sustained winds for the storm have been clocked at just under 40 miles per hour. The tracking cone for the storm predicts landfall near Naples, Florida.
South Florida is monitoring a potential tropical system that is expected to be the first storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.
A tropical storm warning remains in effect in Miami, Fort Myers and West Palm Beach as a system is expected to make landfall in Southwest Florida on Saturday. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says the system could intensify and develop into Tropical Storm Alex later tonight.
The storm has a 90% chance to form into either a tropical depression or Tropical Storm Alex in the next 48 hours and is forecast to make landfall between Fort Myers and Naples. The potential tropical cyclone will also bring heavy rain that could lead to considerable flooding across South Florida and the Keys.
Meteorologists are urging people in the warned areas to prepare for flash flooding, especially around cities.
“We are growing increasingly concerned that if these excessive rainfall rates occur over major urban areas like Fort Lauderdale to Miami, which have many impervious surfaces such as concrete and pavement, a very serious and life-threatening major flooding situation can quickly develop,” warned AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter.
With the storm expected to cause power outages, Florida Power & Light (FPL), which serves more than 12 million people, say they are continuing to monitor the weather system as it approaches the Sunshine State.
“FPL is closely monitoring Potential Tropical Cyclone One and making our final preparations – including pre-positioning our workforce and equipment – so we’re ready to respond. This includes deploying crews from other parts of Florida into areas expected to experience the worst weather,” an FPL spokesperson said on Friday. “The system’s torrential rain, localized flooding, gusty winds and possible tornadoes will cause power outages. Oversaturated soil combined with high winds will likely uproot trees that could topple onto our power lines. We want customers to know we are ready for whatever this system throws our way and will work around the clock to safely and quickly restore power.”
The Atlantic hurricane season officially began Tuesday. It marks 30 years since Hurricane Andrew and five years since Hurricane Irma hammered the state of Florida.