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National Weather Service issues flood watch for Lee County, east coast

The News-Press (Fort Myers) 8/15/2019 Chad Gillis
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Southwest Florida is drenched, and more rain is on the way as southwesterly flow continues to dominate daily weather patterns. 

The National Weather Service in Ruskin issued a flood watch for Lee County through 10 p.m. Friday night. 

Lee County is at the southern end of a front that's expected to bring several inches of rain between now and next week. 

'We’re essentially getting double the amount of rain because we’re getting it in the morning and in the evening," said Stephen Shiveley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin, which covers the Fort Myers area. "And we have a frontal boundary over north Florida and that’s enhancing shower activity too." 

a swan next to a body of water: An ibis preens as a light rain falls Tuesday in a tidal pool on the northern part of Lovers Key on 3/19/2019. FILE © Andrew West, The News-Press USA Today Network-Florida An ibis preens as a light rain falls Tuesday in a tidal pool on the northern part of Lovers Key on 3/19/2019. FILE

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The front to the north will bring some rain to Lee County but isn't expected to impact Collier as much.

In recent days southwesterly flow has pushed thunderstorms lingering over the Gulf of Mexico toward the Sunshine State. 

"The flow opens it up to more rain in general," Shiveley said. "You can already see more storms forming 30, 40 miles out in the Gulf (of Mexico), so we’re looking at a few rounds of showers actually. And the cloud cover doesn’t help to dry us out too much."

The normal pattern of relatively sunny mornings and thunderstorms in the afternoon is being interrupted. 

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A front to the north will bring even more rain. 

"(The Fort Myers area is) on the tail end of it," Shiveley explained. "Worse conditions will be in the Tampa area, but you guys have got a lot of rain in the last few days and that’s what the flood watch is for."

Shiveley said water is already standing on the local landscape and that any more rain will only add to the saturation. 

"We’ve had rain for such a prolonged period that rivers are on the rise and there’s runoff," he said. "We’ve had so much rain the last two weeks that it doesn’t take much to see flooding." 

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Collier County isn't quite as wet as Lee, and less rain is expected there between now and Monday night. 

"The Naples and Collier area was left out of the flood watch because most of the storms have been concentrated on the east coast," said Larry Kelly with the National Weather Service in Miami, which covers Collier County. "We’re still going to see showers and thunderstorms, but they just haven’t seen as much as the east coast, so that’s why they’re not under a flood watch." 

Cloudy conditions are expected the next few days, and daytime highs will be suppressed by a few degrees. 

Highs here are typically in the low-to-mid 90s but will be in the upper 80s Friday. 

Connect with this reporter: @ChadGillisNP on Twitter. 

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This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: National Weather Service issues flood watch for Lee County, east coast

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