While the heaviest and steadiest rain will leave Florida later this week, the arrival of the rainy season should ease drought and brush fire problems in the Sunshine State.
Florida's rainy season typically runs from late May to the middle of October and results in about two-thirds of the annual rainfall for the state. The dry season was much drier than average, and the rainy season got off to a later start than usual in some cases.
The combination of tropical moisture and a non-tropical storm will produce widespread torrential downpours across Florida through Wednesday night.
Enough rain can fall at a fast enough pace to cause rapid street flooding and poor visibility on the highways. Through Wednesday night, a general 3-6 inches of rain will fall on the state with locally higher amounts. A couple of inches of rain could fall in an hour in extreme cases.
In addition to the risk of flash and urban flooding, there is the potential for locally severe thunderstorms into Tuesday evening, according to AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.
"The greatest risk of a brief tornado is in the southeastern corner of the peninsula and along the west coast of the peninsula," Walker said.
The threat includes the possibility of waterspouts in coastal waters.
Even though the storm will leave the region on Thursday, tropical moisture will remain behind, which is typical for the summertime and the rainy season in Florida.
Sunshine and daytime heating will cause towering clouds and sporadic showers and thunderstorms from the latter part of this week through this weekend and into next week.
While frequent downpours and the threat of severe weather will hinder vacation plans, rounds of golf and a day at the beach in the short term, downpours will become sparse enough to allow these activities to resume shortly.
As of the end of May, 72 percent of Florida (with approximately 13 million residents) was considered to be in moderate drought with 15 percent in extreme drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor.
"With the rainy season now underway and the anticipated weather pattern this summer, Florida should soon be over the hump as far as this drought is concerned," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteoorlogist Paul Pastelok.
"We will have to watch the Gulf of Mexico and the northwestern Caribbean Sea for possible tropical development and direct impact on Florida moving forward in June and July," Pastelok said.
The heavy rain and sporadic downpours to follow this week are likely to cause the areal coverage of drought conditions to shrink and the severity of the drought to ease. The downpours and high humidity will help to extinguish existing fires and to hinder the ignition of new fires.
The wet, humid weather should also assist with drought and wildfire relief in southeastern Georgia and the coastal areas of South Carolina.
Despite the beginning of the rainy season, people should continue to conserve water and exercise caution with power equipment until restrictions and burn bans are lifted by officials.