A tropical system over the Gulf of Mexico that dropped rain on Southwest Florida on Monday and left the area vulnerable to flooding is expected to continue its deluge today, according to the National Weather Service.
"The soil is very saturated and it won't take much rain to cause problems," said Joel Ruthfuss, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
However, meteorologists predict that the potential for flooding should lessen throughout the day.
For now, the greatest threat from the weather system is flooding from heavy rains, said David Ross, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Soggy ground from continued rainy conditions in Southwest Florida, and particularly in Collier County, has made flooding more likely.
On Monday, the National Weather Service was not predicting strong winds on land from the tropical system, though 6-foot waves and winds gust were possible further out in the Gulf.
However, the agency did not rule out the potential for worse conditions if the system continues to develop.
"There is some uncertainty of what this system could do," Ruthfuss said.
The storm led to a flood watch and rip current warnings in South Florida.The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says Key West International Airport was closed for almost three hours Monday morning due to taxiway flooding. The Florida Division of Emergency Management is urging beachgoers to stay out of the water where red flags are posted.
Authorities say 48 accidents were reported on South Florida highways Sunday night after a day of rain. That includes nine hit-and-runs and a fatal accident in the Florida Keys involving a pedestrian.
Forecasters expect the stormy weather to continue through Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.