ORLANDO, Fla. - A weak area of low pressure will continue to push and stall over the northeast Florida coast by the weekend, pulling in deep tropical moisture into the area, especially south of I-4. Expect scattered to numerous showers throughout the weekend, with the main hazard being locally heavy rain, gusty winds with occasional lightning strikes. Keep your eyes to the sky as brief funnel clouds will be possible as well. If you're planning on heading to the beaches this weekend, be on alert as an east swell will maintain a heightened risk of rip currents both Saturday and Sunday.
Rain coverage risks will sit at 80 percent south of metro Orlando, with a 60-70 percent chance further north. A lower rain chance is expected for Volusia County, about 50 percent. Widespread cloud cover and rain-cooled air will keep highs this weekend into the upper 80s to near 90 degrees, and lows in the mid-70s.
By next week, models show an area of low pressure lifting northeast out of the area. A ridge of high pressure will re-establish itself over central Florida. Lingering showers can be expected but rain coverage will gradually return to a normal 40-50 percent by mid week.
This weak low, that currently sits in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, is still being closely monitored by the National Hurricane Center. Although upper level winds could limit tropical formation, some subtropical development is possible over the weekend and into next week as it moves Northeast near the eastern seaboard. For that reason, they are giving this area a 40 percent chance of development over the next 5 days.
The system everyone is watching is Hurricane Harvey out over the western Gulf. Voluntary evacuations have been issued for residents and visitors along the Texas Gulf coast, as Harvey is expected to make landfall by Friday night and into Saturday morning. Maximum sustained winds are near 120 miles per hour with even higher wind gusts, making Harvey the first major hurricane of the season. The storm is expected to make landfall near Corpus Christi overnight and into Saturday morning. Along with high winds, the biggest concern will be the amount of rain that the system is able to dump.
Once it makes landfall, Harvey could meander over the area for a few days, dumping up to up to 15-25 inches of rain and isolated amounts of over 35 inches through Wednesday. Along with the torrential rain, storm surge is also a threat to the low-lying coastline.
Some areas could see water rise in upwards of 6-12 feet. If rainfall and surge models are correct, Harvey could cause devastating and life-threatening flooding for parts of eastern and inland Texas.
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