Flood Warning expires at 8:00 AM on 4/18, issued at 10:44 AM Bryceville, FL | Callahan, FL | Fernandina Beach, FL | Glen Saint Mary, FL

Strong winds cause major damage in South Florida

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Updated: 6/06/2013 12:09 pm
JUPITER, Fla. (Palm Beach Post) -- More stormy patches ahead: “Don’t be misled by nice skies out there. It’s just a brief window, you are going to have more coming,” said Bob Ebaugh, weather service specialist at the National Weather Service in Miami.

He warned that this pause in the storms just before 11 a.m. will be brief. More rain, thunderstorms and the risk of tornadoes will continue at lunchtime and for the remainder of the day in Palm Beach County. The tornado watch set to expire at 11 a.m. hs been extended to 10 p.m. for several counties including Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

“Individual showers and thunderstorms that are popping out are coming from the south and interior Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Umbrellas are good, raincoats are probably better considering how it’s a little gusty out there,” he added.

[SLIDESHOW: TROPICAL STORM ANDREA]

Ebaugh said with a 70 percent chance of rain this afternoon and a 60 percent chance tonight, it’s going to be a wet one for Palm Beach County and much of South Florida.

“Until this system moves farther north to where we stop getting bands from it, you are going to have a possibility of maybe a tornado spinning out there,” he added.

The weather is not expected to improve until this weekend, Ebaugh said. After a 70 percent chance of rain Friday, rain chances decrease to 50 percent Saturday.

At the South Florida Water Management District, officials said they had “lots of advance notice” of TS Andrea and lowered canals to allow excess water from rain.

“For this storm, everything is operating as it’s supposed to. We haven’t had any reports of problems, but we are obviously following the incoming rain and communicating with the weather service,” said spokesman Gabe Margasak.

Margasak said Palm Beach County so far has seen less rainfall from TS Andrea than from storms that swept through the area over the last couple weeks, but there are reports of up to 4 inches of rain in some western communities.

In the last 24 hours, some parts of the county have seen 3 inches to 4 inches of rain, while parts of southern Palm Beach County have received only an inch, according to water management district reports.

Weather Service inspects damage: Officials from the National Weather Service in Miami are on their way to The Acreage and Belle Glade to survey damage they think was caused by multiple tornadoes. The spate of storms stem from Tropical Storm Andrea which was 160 miles west of Tampa this morning. Robert Molleda and Pablo Santos, both of the weather service, are expected in Palm Beach County around 11:30 a.m.

Acreage : Power lines were snapped off between 77th Place North and 82nd St. North, which is north of Orange Boulevard and south of Northlake Boulevard in the Acreage, reports Palm Beach County Fire Rescue spokesman Capt. Albert Borroto.

At 10 a.m. firefighters had completed their door-to-door checks of homes in the Acreage and were clearing out of the area. FPL workers continued to work on power lines in the area.

Borroto urged residents to stay indoors and stay clear of any downed power lines.

“Don’t go outside unless it’s abosolutely necessary,” Borroto said, referring to residents damaged area. “Any downed power lines, consider them as being charged.”

Schools: School buses avoided a couple roads in the Acreage on the way to schools in the area, but otherwise schools opened on time for the academic year’s last day. A bus full of Odyssey Middle School students headed for a field trip to Busch Gardens near Tampa was turned around and student returned to school by 8 a.m. Officials are trying to reschedule that excursion for later in the month.

Damage Assessment: At 9:15 a.m., county fire rescue crews are conducting a door-to-door damage assessment in the northern-central section of the Acreage.

Palm Beach County Administrator Bob Weisman said fire rescue crews are also investigating damage reports west of Boca Raton and Jupiter. It is unclear whether that damage was caused by a tornado, Weisman said.

County fire rescue have set up a command post in the Acreage. Weisman said it appears the damage occurred north of (not south as earlier reported ) Orange Avenue and west of Royal Palm Beach Boulevard.

There are reports of power outages and downed power lines in the Acreage, Weisman said.

County Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson is in the Acreage with fire rescue officials, Weisman said.

Weisman said there are no plans to close county buildings and facilities as a result of the weather.

Warning to 9 a.m.: The National Weather Service has issued another tornado warning, this one for south central Palm Beach County running from Aero Club in Wellington and moving east. It extends until 9 a.m.

County activates EOC: Just before 8:30 a.m., Palm Beach County officials opened their operation center to monitor the storm.

Warning: Weather service has issued a new tornado warning for northern Broward and south central Palm Beach County. The storms are moving north. Florida Highway Patrol reports a possible touchdown at Florida’s

Turnpike near Pompano. The warning expires at 8:30 a.m.

Loxahatchee/ Acreage damage: Heavy damage is being reported to some homes in the Loxahatchee and Acreage communities, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue spokesman Capt. Al Borroto reports. At 7 a.m. there was a report of a possible tornado touch down near 130th and Tangerine. Also damage reports at 76th Road North.

A woman has been flown to the hospital from that community after a tree fell through her roof, injuring her, Borroto sad.

Look for these warnings to continue off and on through the morning, said weather service meteorologist Bob Ebaugh. Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast remain under a tornado watch at least until 11 a.m. and that could be extended.

The National Weather Service confirms a funnel cloud was spotted near the Acreage but there is no confirmation of an actual touchdown.

Schools: Officials say Palm Beach County public schools remain open on this, the last day of school despite the weather. They did, however, urge parents to use their discretion and monitor local weather reports. And
if the weather becomes too dangerous, it’s OK to miss the last day of school.

Another warning has been issued for north central Palm Beach County near the Acreage and moving north. It extends until 7:15 a.m. It’s moving north at 30 mph.

At 6:20 a.m., the National Weather Service issued tornado warning, a warning that a tornado is likely, has been issued along Florida’s Turnpike west of Delray Beach. The warning extends to 6:45 a.m. If you are in the warning area, take precautions, seek shelter.

Tropical Storm Andrea is about 220 miles west southwest of Tampa and is moving away from us, but its reach extends well over Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, delivering showers and storms all day. The system also is creating conditions that may see the formation of tornadoes.

The National Weather Service has posted a tornado watch that is in effect until 11 a.m.

Meteorologists forecast 2 to 4 inches of rain can be expected today, and some spots may see up to 6 inches. With the ground so saturated, local flooding is possible.

Showers, some of them very heavy, are moving through the area this morning and the forecast calls for them to last all day. Official rain chances are 70 percent to 80 percent, growing larger as you move north.

At 4 a.m., TS Andrea packed winds of 60 mph and was moving to the northwest at 13 mph.

Though the storm is moving fairly fast, the extent of rain and storms associated with it is broad and the wind and rain will continue to be in our area Friday, but begin to fade Friday night.

Thunderstorms remain in the forecast through the weekend, but drier air does move in and the rain chances fall off to about 40 percent Saturday and Sunday.
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