Tropical Storm Alex gains strength as it races toward Bermuda
A tropical disturbance that produced flooding rain across South Florida has now exited off the coast into the Atlantic Ocean, where conditions allowed the system to organize enough to become Tropical Storm Alex on Sunday morning.
"The configuration of the upper-level winds changed just enough to let it form," FOX Weather Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross said. "Previously, they were ripping across the disturbance. That kept it from organizing, pushing the thunderstorms and tropical moisture well ahead of the surface circulation that kept trying to form. The upper winds also injected dry air into the system, which further gummed up the works."
Hurricane Hunters investigating that storm Sunday afternoon found significantly stronger winds, estimated at 65 mph. The storm is racing off to the east-northeast at 23 mph and is expected to start impacting Bermuda Sunday night or early Monday morning.
Tropical Storm Alex is the first named cyclone of the 2022 Atlantic basin hurricane season, which kicked off on June 1.
Because of the threat of how close the system could come to Bermuda Monday, a Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the island nation.
"The system is not forecast to get much stronger as it passes near Bermuda tomorrow" Norcross explains Sunday. "Shortly after that, the prediction is that Alex will be torn apart by the strong upper winds and die out in the middle of the Atlantic."
Despite the system heading away from the U.S., rip currents will remain elevated along beaches for much of the Southeast through the workweek.
After Alex, it appears the tropics will remain calm for the rest of the week, at least," Norcross says.
TROPICAL RAINMAKER CREATES DANGEROUS FLOODING IN SOUTH FLORIDA
As the system passed over Florida, heavy rain caused flash flooding in Miami and coastal communities during the early morning hours of Saturday.
The City of Miami Fire Rescue responded to multiple calls of people stranded inside their vehicles after becoming stuck in floodwaters.
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"A band of torrential rain caused widespread flooding up to waist-deep in the Miami area overnight, with other areas nearby also affected," said FOX Weather Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross. "The National Weather Service radar in Miami shows that a north-south swath of intense thunderstorms dumped 6 to over 12 inches of rain from Hallandale Beach, which is just south of Fort Lauderdale, down Interstate 95 through Miami to the upper Florida Keys. Three to 5 inches came all at once."
Miami received nearly a foot of rainfall and many other locations across South Florida reported nearly a month's worth of precipitation since Friday.
In addition to rain, the tropical weather created blustery conditions south of the Interstate 4 corridor.
On Saturday afternoon, Fort Pierce, Florida, reported a wind gust of 40 mph, and a weather station near Melbourne Beach, Florida, clocked a gust of 48 mph.
Wind gusts over 50 mph were previously recorded in southern Florida at Turkey Point (56 mph), Dania Beach Pier (52 mph) and Key West (51 mph).
The winds were responsible for occasional power outages, but as of Saturday evening, most customers' electricity had been restored.
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Florida was not the only area that experienced life-threatening impacts from the disturbance.
In Cuba, authorities reported that the heavy rainfall caused landslides, and there were at least two deaths attributed to the system, near the capital city of Havana.
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Strong upper-level winds have prevented the system from becoming better organized. The system remains very lopsided, with most of the heavy rain and gusty winds occurring well to the east and southeast of its center.
The average date of the first named cyclone is June 20, so the 2022 season is running slightly ahead of normal.
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