The heavy rain came sooner than normal for many Floridians Wednesday morning.
Heavy rain this morning from #MarcoIsland #Naples #Tampa #Orlando. Tropical rains are pushing north. Upper level disturbance is enhancing moist tropical flow. pic.twitter.com/C2T3PxP1KV— Florida Storms (@FloridaStorms) May 30, 2018
The early arrival was triggered by a weak disturbance moving into the eastern Gulf, just west of Tampa.
The downpours will continue off and on through midday near and west of the I-75 corridor from Gainesville to Fort Myers, including in the Tampa metro area, where the disturbance is likely to move ashore. By early afternoon, a mixture of showers and heavier thunderstorms are likely to develop across inland areas and move north and east toward cities like Orlando, Daytona Beach, St. Augustine, and Jacksonville. Some of the storms could be locally strong and produce gusty winds, frequent lightning, and blinding rains.
Further down the Atlantic Coast, scattered thunderstorms are also likely to develop across portions of east-central and southeast Florida just inland from Melbourne to very water-logged Miami, but they will not be as widespread as the activity further north. Nonetheless, a few strong storms will be possible and capable of the same hazards.
Most residents in the Florida Panhandle who experienced the brunt of Subtropical Storm Alberto will get a chance to dry out Wednesday. However, some isolated showers and thunderstorms will be possible, especially near and east of Tallahassee.
Periods of heavy rain and thunder are likely again Thursday in nearly the same locations as where they hit Wednesday, but from a different setup. The overall weather pattern will being to shift, and a much lighter wind flow will be established. This is likely to allow for well-defined sea breezes to move inland from both coasts. As a result, most of Thursday's storms will develop by early afternoon near the coastlines, then slowly drift inland by late afternoon. Locally heavy rain, gusty winds, and very frequent lightning will accompany Thursday's strongest cells.
A drier pattern will develop across portions of South Florida Friday and Saturday, as some drier air moves in from a ridge of higher pressure to the east. However, the afternoon showers and thunderstorms are likely to keep firing up near and north of the I-4 corridor where higher moisture levels will linger through the weekend.