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The first storm of the Atlantic season is expected to unleash an unprecedented deluge of rain and wind across the Southeast this weekend.
The weather patterns associated with this hurricane season are expected to be similar to those of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, when more than 60% of those storms reached category 1 strength or greater. These storms can dump up to 10 times as much rain as the average Atlantic tropical cyclone, and can cause devastating floods, powerful winds, and tornadoes.
With just a few days to go until the season’s landfall, the potential destruction is becoming clear. Hurricane winds combined with heavy precipitation could cause an unprecedented deluge of rain across most of Florida.
It is unknown how much damage will be caused by the storm. Experts believe it will be difficult to accurately forecast the extent of the rain because of the complexity of Florida’s terrain.
As of Monday, Florida is expecting more than 20 inches of rain to fall in 24 hours across all of the state.
The National Weather Service issued a flood risk warning for parts of Orlando and Kissimmee.
Experts expect the storm to continue as a major hurricane through Sunday afternoon. Then, it is expected to weaken over the next two to three days.
This storm’s slow movement, combined with the wetter conditions that will persist into late Tuesday, will make predicting the path of the storm difficult.
Forecasters expect the storm to arrive from the southwest this weekend, about a week after it formed near the coast of Cuba.
The storm is forecast to make landfall in northwestern Florida Monday about 7 a.m. EST, according to the Hurricane Center.
The National Hurricane Center said it was expecting 1 million to 3 million people to be impacted by the storm and warned that many coastal communities would be under evacuation orders.
There is expected to be about $700 million in damage in the state, the National Weather Service said.
The storm will likely make landfall on a warm and humid sea surface and bring the rainfall and strong winds to the north coast of Florida, causing flooding, according to the NWS.
It will take this storm more than a few days to make its entire path from southwest Florida coast to the Atlantic Ocean by the time it nears the northern coast.