Tropical Storm Alex moves away, South Florida drying out following day of rain and flooding

Alex cone (WPLG)

Miami-Dade and Broward residents are cleaning up after over a foot of rain fell in parts of South Florida. Nine inches or more was not uncommon across parts of Broward, Miami-Dade, and the upper Florida Keys. The highest measurement so far came from Hollywood and Miami at over 13″ since Friday morning. Many areas saw flooded streets and stalled vehicles.

Dry air is being pulled in on the system’s rear flank, which will greatly improve the weather for Sunday. Only a few isolated afternoon showers are expected. West winds in wake of the disturbance will make for a very hot day, however, with highs reaching to the 90s.

We will watch a tail of moisture the system left behind. It is currently draped across Cuba and the Bahamas, but will be dragged farther north as we approach the middle of the work week. This will boost rain chances for South Florida in the coming days.

Alex moisture (WPLG)

After flying six full missions into once Potential Tropical Cyclone One, the Air Force Hurricane Hunters were finally able to find a well-defined circulation center this morning about 175 miles east of Cape Canaveral, Florida. With winds already exceeding tropical storm strength (greater than 39 mph) near its center, this finding allowed the Hurricane Center to christen Tropical Storm Alex – the first named storm of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The disturbance wasn’t technically a tropical storm as it passed over Florida, even though its winds met the 39 mph+ criteria. This is due to a technicality, as the circulation at low levels was too large and broad to meet the definition.

As of 9 a.m. Sunday, a new hurricane hunter plane just passed through Alex’s circulation center. While it’s still early in the mission, they’re finding winds near 80 mph at flight level (about 5,000 feet above the ocean surface), suggesting maximum surface winds near 60 mph, as indicated in NHC’s morning update.

Alex is forecast to make its closest approach to Bermuda Monday afternoon but should be commencing a weakening trend by then as it quickly accelerates eastward and toward the open north Atlantic.

Back in South Florida, flooded areas continue to dry out after yesterday’s deluge. Preliminary totals indicate some spots in the Miami metro received over a foot of rainfall during yesterday’s heavy rains. The below map shows 48-hour rainfall totals from selected South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) sites (ending 8 a.m. Sunday) across the area. While these observations still need to be quality checked, they give a general flavor or where some of the heaviest rainfall fell.

Local rainfall (WPLG)

The deluge brought by the storm is not uncommon for tropical systems this time of year. In fact, two of the top ten wettest tropical systems on record for Florida have come in June from weak and disorganized storms. Tropical Storm Debby in 2012 brought 28″ to parts of Northwest Florida and the Panhandle. Tropical Depression One in 1992 brought 25″ to the Tampa area. The atmosphere in June tends to be hostile to developing storms, keeping them from achieving high winds, but they can bring tremendous rainfall.

June storms also tend to form close to land areas, usually in the western Caribbean or southern Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic is still a little cool and the belt of stormy weather that straddles the tropics and aids in storm formation is still a bit too far south. The Gulf and Caribbean warm up sooner, and non-tropical low pressures dropping down from the US bring the spark necessary to spark early-season development.

Aside from Alex, the tropics quiet back down. No new storms are expected to form through the middle of the week, at least.

This latest tropical update was provided by Hurricane Specialist and Storm Surge Expert Michael Lowry, and Local 10 News’ Meteorologists Brandon Orr and Luke Dorris.

Alex gif (WPLG)

About the Authors:

Michael Lowry is Local 10's Hurricane Specialist and Storm Surge Expert.

Brandon Orr joined the Local 10 News team in 2018.