Increasingly, due to global atmospheric heating, this is the kind of event we’ve seen —
An atmosphere hotter than at any time in at least the past 120,000 years develops a powerful thermal lift. The dense clouds build higher and higher, drawing in moisture from a hydrological cycle that has been intensified by at least 6 percent due to a 0.8 C global heating since the 1880s. Eventually, the heavy moisture loading within the cloud comes crashing downward in a collapsing inundation, resulting in record rainfall.
Almost daily, now, we see new record rainfall events due to this set of hothouse warming heightened atmospheric dynamics. Just one of the increasingly severe weather impacts predicted by climate scientists. And for a broad region of Eastern and Central Florida sitting under a pattern of rainfall that has now persisted for 8 days, yesterday witnessed just such a major inundation.
(Powerful storms close in on Central and Eastern Florida yesterday afternoon just prior to another record rainfall event. Image source: LANCE-MODIS.)
Towering storms swept in, puffed up by the hotter than normal waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico spreading dense, white cloud tops up toward the stratosphere. By late evening, Central and Eastern Florida were hemmed in by the towering cloud deck.
The heavy rains began last night around midnight and continued on until around 7 AM this morning. Dousing sheets of rain swept through Volusia County cities focusing in on Orlando, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach and Daytona. For Daytona, the previous rainfall record for the day, set in the 1970s at 4.22 inches was shattered as 7.98 inches of rain fell over a seven hour period.
The massive downpour left ten homes flooded and entire neighborhoods shut down as city residents pushed water-logged vehicles to higher ground or gingerly waded through knee to waist deep waters. Nearby Port Orange found itself in a similar situation after a 7 inch deluge flooded numerous roads and neighborhoods even as it completely buried a section of railroad track in flood waters. The flooding storms also uprooted trees and knocked down power lines in the affected region.
As of about 1 PM this afternoon more storms were riding in off the Atlantic Ocean heightening the risk of continued flooding for the already storm-plagued region. River levels were rapidly rising and a flood warning was issued for the larger St. John’s River.
(Southeast Water Vapor Imagery. Image source: NOAA.)
As of 4 PM Eastern Time, water vapor imagery and radar showed strong thunderstorm cells just to the southeast of Volusia county and traveling toward the northwest — threatening a second inundation for an already flooded region.
(Hat Tip to Colorado Bob)