Tropical storm warnings are in effect through Southwest Florida with gusty winds and heavy rain
Updated Friday, June 3 5pm
Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for our area into the weekend. Meteorologist Justin Ballard says the wind will be gusty at times, but it's the rain that could be the biggest hazard.
"Winds across our area are expected to occasionally be between 39 and 57 miles per hour through Saturday morning, and while that is technically tropical-storm-force, flash flooding is what I am most concerned about," said Ballard. "Widespread rainfall totals could be as high as 6 to 10 inches, with locally higher totals possible near the immediate coastline."
Ballard says there will also be a risk for a few brief waterspouts or tornadoes in some of the heaviest rain bands. He adds that conditions should quickly improve through tomorrow evening.
Updated June 6 3pm
Southwest Florida remains under a tropical storm warning as a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico continues to track toward Florida with expected landfall of the system near the Fort Myers area. As of the latest update from the National Hurricane Center (will update at 5 p.m.), it’s still a tropical cyclone, but with continued intensification likely, its predicted to become a tropical storm sometime this evening or overnight into Saturday morning.
Over the next three days forecasters are calling for six to ten inches of rain along Southwest Florida’s immediate coastline, so there’s a good chance of flash flooding. Florida Public Radio Emergency Network meteorologist Megan Borowski says that’s the biggest risk from this system, but that tropical storm force winds expected anywhere from around midnight tonight through Saturday morning could bring wind speeds of 40 to 55 miles per hour. Strong thunderstorms at the center of the storm could produce stronger wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour.
There’s also a potential that thunderstorms could produce quick-hitting tornadoes, so there’s a risk for that tonight and into tomorrow.
Borowski advises residents to stay on top of possible warnings issued by the National Weather Service.
“It’s important to know what to do if a flash flood warning is issued for your area or a tornado warning. A tornado warning, you want to get close to the ground in an interior part of your house or whatever building you’re in away from windows. For a flash flood warning, you want to go to higher ground. So make sure when a weather alert goes off on your phone or your watch or whatnot, you know what the alert is so you can take the appropriate shelter.”
WGCU is a member of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) and your dedicated source for storm coveragethroughout hurricane season. You can also follow our coverage on social media at WGCU Public Media or download the Florida Storms app.