Tampa’s Train of Storms
In Tampa, the rain started to come down lightly on Friday around 8am ET. In a matter of three hours, more rain fell in that time fram than what the city sees in the entire month of May, and then some! Streets turned into rivers, parking lots turned into lakes, and buildings and homes were flooded quickly.
Above is a chart that shows what the city of Tampa sees on average for each month of the year for rainfall. Normally in May, they see 2.10″ of rain. By the end of Friday, Tampa had surpassed their monthly average by around an inch. 3.11″ of rain were recorded in the rain gauge at the airport. The other months on the chart that are higher than 3″ are June through September, where the bulk of those rainfall totals come from tropical systems.
The hourly observations chart above clearly show when the heavens opened up and rained down a torrent of water in a short period of time. When that happens, flash flooding is a possibility, it WILL happen. The ground can not absorb that much rainfall, that quickly, and everything begins to run off into the streets where the sewer systems can only handle so much before they get backed up.
Another area that saw a lot of rain was Sarasota, where they also broke a daily record. They didn’t just break it by a little, but rather by a TON. The city saw more than triple the amount of rain they ever did on that day, yesterday!
Dual Pol Dopplar radar estimates show that just north of the downtown area of Tampa, was where they saw a tremendous amount of rain fall. In the area of Temple Terrace, they picked up between 5-10″ of rain.
The University of South Florida, located in the same vicinity of Temple Terrace, posted this message on their home page, alerting students to the extreme flooding affecting the campus. The school has commencement ceremonies going on this weekend, and they have not planned to alter the schedule of the events, but just ask people leave plenty of extra time to navigate the campus and avoid flooded areas.
On top of the heavy rains, there was also a threat for of waterspouts forming and coming ashore. A tornado warning was issued near Sarasota in the midday hours and there were reports of funnel clouds appearing over the Sarasota Bay area.
The storms kept firing up, one after another, as two airmasses clashed at the boundary between them. Along that slow moving stationary front, we saw winds coming in from the south, and winds coming from the north. Storms formed along that boundary and slowly moved along it, in a method called “Storm Training.” Much like boxcars on a train track, the storms went over the same area over and over again, and Tampa was stuck right on the tracks.
The rain will be moving away from Tampa, as the stationary front slides slowly southward. By Sunday morning, the threat for rain moves out to sea, with Miami and Key West seeing the threat for showers diminishing through the morning hours.
But before Saturday is done, we could see anywhere up to an inch, if not a little more, from Fort Myers to Vero Beach. I’m sure folks in Tampa are glad to see the rains leave and the ground gets a chance to dry up. This was the same storm system that was responsible for flooding parts of the Southeast and Northeast earlier and bringing severe weather to the southern states since Sunday.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Meteorologist Addison Green ~ twitter: @agreenWNTV