Hurricane

Rain from a tropical wave — plus King Tide — could bring coastal flooding this weekend

New tropical wave heading to South Florida

A new tropical wave in the Atlantic is heading to South Florida.
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A new tropical wave in the Atlantic is heading to South Florida.



A tropical wave rolling through the Atlantic is expected to bring rain to South Florida later this week, just in time for the first King Tide of the season. The combination could lead to coastal flooding in low-lying areas.

As of 8 a.m. Thursday, the wave was north of the Bahamas and headed northwest. It likely won’t turn into anything serious, forecasters say.

“It’s got a very, very low chance of any tropical cyclone development. We’re not really concerned about that,” said Dennis Feltgen, public affairs officer for the National Hurricane Center.

The likely impact to South Florida is rain — several inches of it — this weekend. The National Weather Service predicts the region could see two to four inches starting Thursday evening and possibly pushing into Saturday. The heaviest rain is expected over Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

Adding to that, scientists predict two higher than usual tides, also known as King Tides, this summer. The first is this week, from Wednesday through Saturday, and it could bring some minor coastal flooding when combined with the rainfall. The next is at the end of August.

Larry Kelly, a meteorologist for the South Florida office of the National Weather Service, said it appears the highest tide of the higher tide window will occur Friday evening around 11 p.m., a day that rain from the tropical wave is predicted to arrive.

“With any higher tide, obviously combined with the rainfall, it could create a drainage problem along the coast,” he said. “The tidal change wouldn’t cause coastal flooding right now in dry conditions.”

Kelly said his office will continue monitoring tidal gauges for more updates.

After this tropical wave passes, as it’s expected to without incident, there’s another wave to the east to keep an eye on. Feltgen, of the NHC, said the second wave has a zero percent chance of forming over the next couple days as it makes its way across the Atlantic.

“However, as we get into the weekend it’s going to be moving into an area that’s more favorable for development,” he said.

Forecasters peg this wave’s chances of upgrading to a tropical cyclone in the next five days at 60 percent, according to the 2 p.m. update.

“We’ve got plenty of time to watch this. This is more than 3,000 miles away from the U.S.,” Feltgen said. “It’s days and days and days away from the U.S.”

August, especially mid-August, is the peak of storm season. Feltgen said from August through September one of these waves forms every three to four days, and Floridians should use this opportunity to make sure they’re prepared in case one turns into something serious.

“Go into the garage, go into the closet and check,” he said. “Check your supplies and make sure you’ve got what you need.”

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Alex Harris covers climate change for the Miami Herald, including how South Florida communities are adapting to the warming world. She attended the University of Florida.
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