The Washington Post

Unusual February tropical system douses south Florida, Key West


Disturbance in the vicinity of the Keys and south Florida has virtually no chance of becoming a named tropical storm says the National Hurricane Center. (National Hurricane Center)

Key West had its wettest February day on record Sunday, receiving 4.34”. That is more than three times its monthly average according to weather.com.

On Sunday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) gave the disturbance a 30 percent chance of becoming a sub-tropical depression or sub-tropical storm. However, as of this morning, it said the storm shows “no signs of an organized surface circulation” and gives the system close to no chance of becoming a named storm.

While unlikely to earn a name, the NHC cautions:

THIS SYSTEM WILL PRODUCE WIDESPREAD RAINFALL AND ISOLATED GUSTY WINDS OVER PORTIONS OF NORTHERN CUBA...THE FLORIDA KEYS AND SOUTH FLORIDA TODAY AS IT MOVES GENERALLY NORTHEASTWARD NEAR 15 MPH.

The National Weather Service said Miami Lakes 0.95” of rain fell in just 90 minutes this morning (between 7-8:30 a.m.)

“This type of rain could lead to some nuisance standing water as it will not soak into the soil right away,” the NWS said.

Generally around 1” of rain is forecast around Miami, with isolated amounts to 2”.

Link: South Florida interactive radar

The system should move away from the region by Tuesday, but produce some heavy showers over the northern and central Bahamas.

It’s very rare for tropical disturbances to form during the month of February, but not unprecedented.

On February 2, 1952, a tropical storm made landfall in southwest Florida. Known as the Groundhog Day tropical storm, it is the only recorded tropical or subtropical storm to strike the U.S. that month.

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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