When the norm is the exception

Florida has a wet season and a dry season.

Simple, right?

South Florida’s water year starts on May 1st and ends April 30th. Why not use the calendar year instead?  Starting on May 1st allows the year to be split into even wet and dry season season periods: May through October for the wet season and November through April for the dry season.  Wet season (top), dry season (middle) and full year (bottom) rainfall as a departure from the long-term normal (1993-2013) for the south Florida region are shown above.

If it were only that easy!

Variation within each season perhaps matters even more. There are “wet” wet seasons (1995, 2005) and “dry” dry seasons (2008-09) and “dry” wet seasons (late 1980s, 2000, 2006, 2010) and “wet” dry seasons (1997-98, 2009-10). Then there are the “wet” dry seasons followed by the “wet” wet seasons (1994-1995) and the “dry” wet seasons followed by the “dry” dry seasons (2000-01, 2006-07, 2010-11).

Then there are the “late” wet season arrivals (June 2011) and “early” dry season starts (2010-11).

The one exception was May 2003 to April 2004.

It has a “normal” wet season followed by a “normal” dry season.

BTW: That was a boring year.

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