The beginning of the end to Florida’s drought is near

By on May 23rd, 2012

It would take a long-lasting, large-scale weather event, such as a tropical storm or hurricane, to bring a complete end to our year-long drought in North Central Florida.  However, an early start to the rainy season and near-normal summer rainfall could signal the beginning of the end.

Florida’s rainy season starts, on average, during the last week of May in southern Florida, then usually begins a few days later in the northern part of the state.  Most forecasters refer to the rainy season as the period from June until mid-October when showers and thunderstorms are common during the late afternoon or evening hours, usually diminishing around sunset. Conditions are becoming favorable for this type of activity over the Memorial Day weekend.

The criteria most often associated with those summer downpours in this part of the country are air temperatures near 90 degrees, water temperatures at or above 80, and a dewpoint (the temperature at which condensation occurs) consistently near 70.  The warm air temperatures gives us the instability, the warmer water temperatures will induce a sea breeze, and higher dewpoints makes the processes for producing precipitation more efficient.

One more factor that can aid in the development of afternoon thunderstorms (or convection) is a strong trade wind.  The weather pattern this weekend is forecast to produce the easterly wind flow coming off of the Atlantic that could induce a more widespread rainfall event that what is typically seen on a hot summer afternoon.

It is a bit too early for the specifics on timing and location, but the weather players are on the field for a soggy holiday weekend in parts of North Central Florida.  Stay up-to-date with my latest forecast on WRUF-TV, which can be seen on Cox Channel 6 or over the air on Digital 10.1.

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