Wet weather continues to hover over South Florida

A group of teenage campers in Davie were taken to the hospital for heat and dehydration Friday, when the heat index topped 100 degrees.

06/15/2012 5:00 AM

06/15/2012 11:23 PM

Nasty weather moved in Friday night as Miami-Dade and Broward Counties were issued severe thunderstorm watch, according the National Weather Service.

Passengers aboard airplanes at Miami International Airport were left waiting for several hours while officials waited for lightning to clear.

Dark clouds, lightning and thunder hovered over South Florida, causing a heavy commute on the wet roads.

Forecaster Barry Baxter said they got reports of hail.

“Some hail was quarter -sized and in Coral Gables it was golf ball sized, “ he said.

Baxter said we can expect light thunderstorms on Saturday but dry weather on Sunday.

Friday afternoon was a testament to what the weather can really do.

Seven out of 14 participants of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp camp in Davie were overcome with heat and dehydration.

Six of the teens were taken to local hospitals, but Col. James Armstrong, who runs the local JROTC program, said all were going to be fine. Two of the campers were taken to Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines; the other four went to the Cleveland Clinic in Weston.

The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps camp was held at Camp Seminole, and included 436 participants from 26 high schools in Broward County. The camp started Sunday, and campers were breaking down their gear when the 14 teenagers were overcome with heat.

In his 19 years with the program, Armstrong said he had never seen that many youngsters suffer dehydration and heat exhaustion.

The affected teens were probably overcome by South Florida’s treacherous humidity.

High temperatures Friday reached 91 degrees in Miami and 88 degrees in Fort Lauderdale, said Barry Baxter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Miami.

“It really wasn’t that warm,’’ Baxter said. “But when you factor in the humidity, which means how it feels on your skin, the heat index actually got to 102. So to your body, it feels very hot.’’

The high heat index also played a role in a severe thunderstorm watch issued for Miami-Dade and Broward counties through 9 p.m. Friday.

“A trough of low pressure moving south from Central Florida, and a disturbance from the Gulf of Mexico moving southeast, along with the heat of the day, helped fire the storms up,’’ Baxter said.

The weather should begin to dry out by Saturday as high pressure builds from the western Atlantic waters, Baxter said, leading to a pleasant and mild Father’s Day on Sunday.

“Sunday it’s supposed to be very nice,’’ he said. “We’re looking at only a 10 to 20 percent chance of thunderstorms, and much drier air.’’

Herald Staff Writer Daniel Chang contributed to this report.

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