FORT WALTON BEACH — The rest of this week and the Memorial Day holiday weekend are going to be very wet across Northwest Florida, according to National Weather Service meteorologists.
Also, a low-pressure area now moving north into the Gulf of Mexico could also adversely affect this area's weather, according to the weather service and the National Hurricane Center.
"It's certainly not going to be a good holiday weekend," said Mark Wool, acting meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee.
Some parts of Northwest Florida could see anywhere from 4 to 7 inches of rain from Thursday into Sunday, and most parts of the area will see at least 2 inches during that time, said Davel Johnson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Mobile, Alabama. The rain will come in periodic showers and thunderstorms.
Wool and Johnson said Tuesday that there is considerable uncertainty about how the low-pressure area moving into the Gulf could affect the weather in the Panhandle.
In a Tuesday assessment, the National Hurricane Center said that while strong winds and dry air are inhibiting any storm development, "some gradual subtropical or tropical development is possible late this week while the system moves slowly northward into the central or eastern Gulf of Mexico."
The Hurricane Center added that regardless of whether the low-pressure area develops into a storm, "locally heavy rainfall is possible across ... much of Florida during the next several days."
Johnson said the weather pattern is typical for this time of year, with the June 1 start of the hurricane season just days away.
"We're getting close to hurricane season, so we'll be getting these 'blobs' of heavy moisture," he said.
Johnson added that there is little agreement yet among the various computer forecast models about what will happen in the Gulf over the next few days. His own assessment, Johnson said, is that there will be some rain, but no storm, associated with the low-pressure area.
"It's going to be the moisture, without the development," he said.
As of Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center had set a 40 percent chance that the low-pressure area would develop into a tropical cyclone within the next five days.
According to Wool, the rain expected across the Panhandle through the holiday weekend will be of particular concern in areas where heavy rain has fallen or will fall before the weekend. Additional heavy rain will increase risks of flooding, he said.