Tornadoes, damaging winds possible in South Florida this afternoon, evening

Sun Sentinel

South Florida faces a significant threat of tornadoes between 5 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, largely the result of the tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Weather Service said.

The weather service estimates the tornado threat will be greatest between 5 and 7 p.m. around Lake Okeechobee, and between 7 and 9 p.m. in South Florida.

A tornado watch has been issued for all of South Florida, effective through 10 p.m. A gale warning and a flood watch also are expected to be posted.

In addition to the tornado threat, South Florida could see even more stormy weather with winds up to 60 mph overnight, the result of an approaching cold front.

Although the National Hurricane Center now gives the disturbance a near zero chance of developing, it still is expected to produce strong winds and stormy weather across the southern third of Florida.

"This will significantly increase the threat of isolated, damaging tornadoes late this afternoon and this evening as the area of thunderstorms over the southeast Gulf is moving steadily eastward," meteorologist Robert Molleda said in a statement.

The core of the disturbance is expected to move ashore along the southwest Florida coast later this afternoon, he said.

Molleda said shower and storms currently over the Gulf already are showing "some mini-supercell characteristics." He said conditions will become even more ripe for tornado development as those storms approach the coast.

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