Don’t forget your umbrella

Umbrella season arrives
Rain Or Shine Report for June 3

In this Sunday’s edition of the Naples Daily News, long-time editor Phil Lewis points out that “there are two seasons in southwest Florida: hurricane and wildfire”. See article: Two seasons, 2 dangers, many memories.
Not only has the hurricane season officially begun, it also looks like the wet season has begun in earnest as well.

The afternoon rains descended on Naples from the East, and as usual we could see them coming well in advance.
Looking back at May, rain was a little sub par for the month throughout south Florida (District wide, as computed by SFWMD Meteorology): recording just under 2 inches compared to a 3.5 inch May average.
But truth be told, if there’s any month that the “dry season” Tortoise is sprinting at full speed – I’m talking a Big Brown gallop – it would be May.
Days are hot, clouds are scarce, and springtime bloom is at its apogee.
Three weeks of no rain in December:
Not such a big deal.

But the same three weeks in May:

Now we’re talking severe fire threat.

In water cycle terms, no rain in May is the equivalent of leaving a giant barn door up into the sky wide open.
How many times do you hear the words “Close The Door! The Air Conditioning Is ON!” in Florida. That’s an easy fix, at least in theory (if only bad habits weren’t so hard to correct).

But as for the Giant Barn Door In The Sky, that’s a door that just doesn’t close: it’s open 24/7. The only known cure is to pour in water from the other direction.

In Florida, that typically comes around the start of June.

That’s when the “wet season” Hare starts its 5-month sprint through the hot and humid summer months and, tropical storm willing, early fall.

The wet season Hare tallies up around 35 inches of rain, on average, when it’s all said and done. That’s District wide from June through October. Make that 41 inches for Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve and the Southwest Coast, 39 inches for Miami-Dade, 36 inches for Palm Beach, 32 inches for the Kissimmee, and 29 inches for The Lake.

And June is the rainiest season of the wet season. South Florida wide, June has averaged around 8.5 inches over the past 10 years. Over here on the Southwest Coast, including Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve, June averages around 10.5 inches of rain.

Compare that to only 8.5 inches of June rain on the east coast, 7 inches over the Lake, and 7.5 inches in the Kissimmee.

Interestingly, it’s September – not June – that is the rainiest month of the wet season for the east coast.
Here’s a closer look at the numbers in your area.
West Palm Beach had the rainiest winter. Eighteen inches have fallen since the start of 2008. That’s almost an extra 5 inches from the 10-year average for the first 5 months of the year.

Here in Big Cypress National Preserve, almost 14 inches has fallen during the same period. That’s 2-3 inches above the average.

Even the Lake has seen its fair share of dry season rains. May fell just a hair below the typical May average, but every month before that going back to December 2007 was at or slightly above normal. Since January, that’s added up to around 11 inches of rain falling on the Lake. It’s that rain, and inflows from the Kissimmee that has kept the Lake right around the 10 ft mark all winter.

Suffice it to say that the wet season has begun.
And it looks like we can put another dry season in the books.
I don’t know if it’s the official standard, but some ample quantities of rain fell on my head this week, and yes it was the variety that rose out of the Everglades and headed west.
We always hang a lot of our wet season hat on what happens in June. So it will be an interesting month to track.
More on the Lake inflows and outflows later.
In the meanwhile, enjoy the rains.
And don’t forget your umbrella.
Special thanks to SFWMD meteorologists Eric Swartz and Geoff Shaughnessy for the rainfall data shown in this post.
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