Friday, January 10, 2014

Buckets of Rain in Florida

When I see the CoCoRaHS U.S. map apparently filled with only blue dots my first thought is that there is an observation with a misplaced decimal, skewing the map scale to the high side. That was my thought this morning when I pulled up the web site. I went to check the observations to see where the high value was, and it was quickly obvious that this wasn't an error.

Heavy rain fell yesterday afternoon through last night along the southeast coast of Florida in Palm Beach County. The heaviest rainfall reported was an astounding 22.21 inches in Hypoluxo. The largest amount from a CoCoRaHS observer was 14.79 inches near Lantana. That amount is low, according to the observer, because the gauge was already full when he emptied it just after midnight (the gauge holds about 11 inches).

CoCoRaHS reports for Palm Beach County, FL on January 10.

CoCoRaHS observers also reported 10+ inch amounts from Martin and St. Lucie counties. Quite a few observers reported 5 inches or more for this event .Here are some of the highest amounts reported to the National Weather Service so far from Palm Beach County.

   1 WSW HYPOLUXO       22.21   800 AM  1/10  MESONET
   1 SW PALM BEACH      16.03   800 AM  1/10  MESONET
   LANTANA              15.04   800 AM  1/10  MESONET
   1 ESE LANTANA        14.79   700 AM  1/10  COCORAHS
   BOYNTON BEACH        13.13   800 AM  1/10  MESONET
   1 E LANTANA          12.46   800 AM  1/10  MESONET
   2 NW BOYNTON BEACH   11.00   800 AM  1/10  COCORAHS
   PALM BEACH           10.75   800 AM  1/10  MESONET
   1 SW PALM BEACH SHOR  9.35   800 AM  1/10  MESONET
   1 NNW LAKE WORTH      8.72   800 AM  1/10  COCORAHS
   1 N LAKE WORTH        8.58   800 AM  1/10  COCORAHS
   LAKE WORTH            7.98   800 AM  1/10  MESONET
   JUNO BEACH            7.94   800 AM  1/10  CO-OP OBSERVER
   JUPITER FARMS         6.29   800 AM  1/10  MESONET
   9 WNW PALM BEACH GAR  6.15   800 AM  1/10  MESONET
   NORTH PALM BEACH      5.86   800 AM  1/10  MESONET

The heavy rain was confined to a fairly narrow band hugging the coast.  The rain developed in onshore north of a stationary frontal boundary draped across southern Florida.

Surface weather map with radar for 1:00 a.m. EST January 10.
The storms initially developed over St. Lucie County (north of Palm Beach County and slowly developed southward into Palm Beach County.

Radar image from Melbourne, FL at 9:59 p.m EST. January 9.
Click HERE to see a 6-hour radar loop.

The rain caused a good deal flooding, and many vehicles were abandoned as roads became flooded. A section of I-95 was closed for a time due to the flooding. Sadly there was one fatality when a car left the road and plunged into water 15 to 20 feet deep, drowning the driver.

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