PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB-TV) – Wednesday will be the last somewhat dry day of the week for northwest Florida. Rain chances will be slightly elevated compared to Tuesday, but overall, rather low compared to the rest of the week. Pop-up showers will be isolated in the morning and remain scattered in coverage through the afternoon with the addition of thunderstorms developing inland. Temperatures overall should still reach the upper 80s and low 90s, even though there will be more clouds in the sky.

Heading into Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we’re going to be dealing with a lot more wet weather and higher rain chances.

THE SET-UP: A trough (typically the same weather pattern that results in a cold front forming) will dig into the southeast. However, a piece of this trough will detach and form what’s known as a cut-off low. It’s a smaller area of low pressure that develops from the larger system. This cut-off low will meander across the northern Gulf of Mexico Thursday night through the weekend. At the same time, an upper level ridge to our east/southeast will be building up. Both systems will enhance flow from southwest to northeast, creating a stream of moisture that is expected to flow from the Gulf of Mexico to Florida. Because of this pattern, we are forecasting higher rain chances for a better coverage of scattered showers and storms across the Panhandle.

PREDICTED RAINFALL TOTALS: We’re watching model trends closely to determine where the stream of heaviest rainfall will set up. The European and American models have shifted the heaviest rainfall a little bit farther east, closer to the Big Bend, over the last 24 hours. At this time, I’m forecasting 2-4 inches of rainfall for most of our central counties of the Panhandle. Isolated higher amounts are possible where bands of heavy rainfall and slow moving storms set up. Along the Forgotten Coast, 4-6 inches of rain looks a little more likely. The coastlines will receive the most rainfall.

POTENTIAL THREATS: Flash flooding will be a threat as early as Thursday evening. Extra caution is urged during commutes the next few days. DO NOT cross any roadways taking on water. “Turn around, don’t drown.” Flooding is a top weather-related killer in the United States.

TROPICS:

As of 6 a.m. CDT, there are two hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. Earl has strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph in the west central Atlantic. The storm system, thankfully, is moving north at 5-10 mph and will be curving away from the United States this week. Meanwhile, Hurricane Danielle remains a Category 1 hurricane in the northern Atlantic. This storm is shifting northeast and will do a bit of a loop in the Atlantic before potentially shifting southeast towards Spain this weekend.

We are also watching a couple of waves moving away from west Africa. The first wave has a medium chance of tropical formation (40-60%) over the next two to five days. The second wave, a little further south, currently has a low chance of formation (0-20%) over the same timespan.

Check back daily for tropical updates along with your local forecast. We’re just a few days away from the official peak of Atlantic Hurricane Season (September 11). The tropics, though, have proven to be more active over the past couple weeks, and we expect this trend to continue throughout September.