A tropical system in February?

Tropics showing early signs of life

Published On: Feb 05 2012 04:49:29 PM EST   Updated On: May 11 2012 11:30:37 PM EDT
MIAMI -

The tropics are showing signs of life in February as invest models are being run on 90L a low level trough that is to our southwest near the Yucatan Channel.  Sunday afternoon, visible satellite and water vapor imagery indicated a surface low trying to form. 

This system is headed northeast toward South Florida tonight and will eventually merge with a cold front that is headed down the state.  This will allow to rain chances to dramatically increase Sunday night and Monday. 

Regardless of how this system evolves in the next 12-24 hrs it will have major impacts on our weather as it moves toward South Florida.  Up to two inches of rain could fall in some areas in Miami-Dade, Broward and the Keys.  The rain chance on Monday is 90 percent. 

This is great news as some areas in South Florida are experiencing moderate drought conditions and 2012 was on of the driest in South Florida history.

South Florida has been hit by a February tropical storm before in 1952.  The storm became known as the Groundhog Day storm.  

The system formed in the northwest Caribbean on Feb. 1 and moved rapidly northeast at 35 mph making landfall in Key West around 8 p.m. Feb. 2.  The storm continued toward the west coast of Florida making landfall near Cape Sable around 10 p.m.  The storm’s center went just west of downtown Miami at 12:30 a.m. February 3. 

At the time, the National Weather Service office was located at 1410 NW Second Avenue in downtown Miami.  There they measured sustained winds of 59 mph with gusts of 68 mph.  The tropical storm force winds, above 40 mph, blew for 4 consecutive hours.  The pressure dropped to 1004 millibars.

The Groundhog Day storm dropped about 2 - 4 inches of rain across the area.