FORT WALTON BEACH — It might be a good idea to keep your rain gear handy over the next couple of days.
The Panhandle will likely continue to be pummeled by a slow-moving cold front coming in from the west that’s already dropped between 2 to 4 inches of rain on southern Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties, according to Jack Cullen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mobile.
“It’s not going to taper off till Thursday night, maybe into Friday,” Cullen said. “That’s when conditions will start improving.”
The system started moving into the area Monday, Cullen said, and picked up steam overnight Tuesday. A flash flood watch is in effect for the entire Panhandle and southeastern Alabama until Thursday evening.
Rainfall totals of up to 7 inches are expected across parts of Walton, Bay, Gulf, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties, while some areas could see up to a foot of rain, forecasters say.
Flooding is possible in low-lying areas, especially roads. Minor street flooding was observed Tuesday morning on Santa Rosa Boulevard on Okaloosa Island, Eglin Parkway in Fort Walton Beach and Highway 98 in Destin in front of Walmart and Fudpuckers.
Cullen said meteorologists don’t expect any severe weather with the system, which is defined as winds at least 58 mph and hail. He also said that the cold front was expected to break up and not provide any significant relief from the heat once the rain dies down.
“As soon as this goes by, it’s going to warm right back up,” he said. “And then it’ll be more humid than it was before because of all the wet ground.”
Rain chances start to dwindle heading into the weekend.
On a positive note, no new tropical cyclones are expected during the next five days.