Thirty days of dry season left?
SFL Weekly Watersheds Summary: April 16 – 22

WEATHER. We probably have about 30 days left in the dry season before the summer rains start back up. Typically that happens in late May. Meteorologically the signal to watch for is the night-time low. When it starts consistently staying above 70°F is an indication that there’s enough moisture in the air column to start fueling day-time cumulus cloud formations conducive to afternoon thunderstorms. But that’s still 30 days away. Until then its a solid month of hot and dry late April and early May weather.

I calculate the start and end of the water year at May 1st of each year. That’s just for convenient book keeping. The truth of the matter is that the first part of May is still heart and sole dry-season territory. It’s not usually until the end of the month that the rainy season switch is flipped and summer rains start falling. It’s those rains that boost May rainfall totals into the ~5 inch shoulder-season prelude of the core summer months (which average 7-10 inches of rain). In any event, since May 1st of 2006 the Big Cypress National Preserve has received around 50 inches of rain. In comparison, Lake O has received only 28 inches and the Kissimee only 34. Water Conservation Area 3 has received about 44 inches and Miami around 51 inches over the same period. Southwest Florida also received around 50 inches.

District-wide, about 38 inches has fallen since May 1st of 2006. That’s more than a foot less of water than has fallen in each of the past consecutive 5 years. Other year’s when less than 40 inches of rain fell district wide include 2000, 1980, 1970, and 1961. Even the dry years of the late 1980s recorded district-wide annual rainfall totals a half-foot higher in the 45 inches range. Interestingly, the difference maker in the dry years of the 1980s was relatively robust dry-season rains which averaged over a foot of rain per dry season. In comparison, only a half-foot of rain has fallen so far this dry season.

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