Tropical Storm Philippe bringing heavy rains, high wind, flood threat to South Florida – Sun Sentinel
Tropical Storm Philippe was passing over the Straights of Florida about 75 miles southwest of Key West as of 8 p.m. Saturday evening, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm formed just before 5 p.m. Saturday, and soon shifted west, putting more of South Florida in the cone; a tropical storm watch was issued for coastal South Florida from Miami-Dade to the Upper Keys on Saturday.
Heavy rains across parts of South Florida began Saturday afternoon from the fringes of the fast-moving storm as it raced across Cuba at about 29 mph. By 8 p.m., it had slowed just slightly.
The rains were expected to be heavy on Saturday night and into Sunday.
A flood watch has been issued for Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties through 4 a.m. Sunday, with two to four inches of rain possible, and six inches in isolated areas. An isolated tornado threat continues through Sunday morning.
The winds have already damaged some structures, including several mobile homes in Boynton Beach, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. Crews responded just after 6 p.m. to reports of damaged homes near the 4000 block of 88th Court South inside Parry Trailer Village.
Crews reported moderate damage to the homes and debris throughout the neighborhood. Firefighters were going through the neighborhood looking for any possible victims and assessing the damage, Captain Albert Borroto said.
The worst of the storm will pass closest to South Florida from 9 or 10 p.m. to about 2 a.m., with Miami-Dade expected to experience the highest winds, and Broward and Palm Beach facing the possibility of a few inches of rain.
The storm currently has top wind speeds of 40 mph, and reached tropical storm strength by 5 p.m., which means winds of 39-73 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. advisory. A tropical storm watch means that these wind speeds are possible.
The forecast track for the storm’s center lies about 35 miles southeast of the Upper Keys and southeastern Miami-Dade County, and the strongest winds will be on the east side of the storm, the side farthest from Florida, the hurricane center said. But the hurricane center said even a slight shift to the west could bring tropical-storm force winds to the Keys or the mainland as it passes through overnight.
The National Hurricane Center expects the storm to strengthen during the next 48 hours as it turns northeast.
The tropical storm watch applies to coastal Miami-Dade County, which means everything east of Interstate 95 from the Broward County line to downtown, and then east of Dixie Highway through Homestead.
It was forecast that Broward County may see heavy rain, thunderstorms and high winds Saturday night into Sunday morning. Although Palm Beach County could experience similar effects, the risk there is lower, according to the National Weather Service.
To the extent the storm affects mainland South Florida, the worst of it is likely to be in Miami-Dade County, particularly east of I-95, said Robert Molleda, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Miami.
The storm is expected to move quickly through the region Sunday morning. A strong cold front is following behind it, which could produce lows in the 50s Sunday night.
Gov. Rick Scott met with officials from the Florida Department of Emergency Management and urged state residents to be on alert.
“As we do with every storm, Floridians must remain vigilant and be prepared right now for any potential impacts from [Tropical Storm Philippe],” the governor said, in a statement issued late Friday afternoon. “It is critical that families pay attention to weather alerts, especially to local watches and warnings.”
The South Florida Sun Sentinel’s news partner WPEC CBS12 News reported that a tornado touched down by Interstate 95 near downtown West Palm Beach on Saturday.
CBS12 captured the touchdown on the Kravis cam.