Forecast: Flooding, severe storms expected Thursday

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High winds and flash floods are among the hazards expected across Central Florida over the next day or so as a cold front brings tropical storm-like conditions to the Sunshine State.

Rain was already falling across the Bay Area late Wednesday, but the worst was yet to come. FOX 13 Chief Meteorologist Paul Dellegatto said as much as 6 inches of rain could fall in parts of the area by the end of the day Thursday.

With that much rain, flash flooding is likely.  Forecasters also expect a good chance of severe storms during the day Thursday, and isolated tornados are possible.

“Take some time to secure any outdoor Christmas decorations that could fall victim to very strong winds,” Paul warned. “Gusts near the coast will likely approach 50 mph Thursday night and Friday.”

Even after the front moves through, things won’t immediately improve.

“Usually when a cold front goes by, the weather turns nice and we enjoy a cool, crisp atmosphere.  Not this time around,” Paul continued.  “This storm is so big, on Friday, we’ll have very strong west-northwest winds with showers coming in off the gulf, maybe even some coastal flooding and beach erosion, with waves out in the gulf as high as 15 to 20 feet.”

The weather will slowly improve through the weekend, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s by Christmas.

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