I have been receiving about 10-13 e-mails everyday regarding our dry conditions. They ask more or less the same things, why is it so dry? When will we see the rain return to South Florida.
Let's take the questions one at a time. Why is it so dry? We are in our dry season, which typically runs between November and May. No surprise here, but we aren't even receiving the small amounts we usually get. Miami is running about 9.5 inches below normal values, while Ft. Lauderdale is in the dry side almost 15 inches. (( NWS provided these numbers and they are from October 2010 through present. )) You can blame a host of things for this but primarily its been due to high pressure sitting over us for much of 2011.
High pressure is a huge mass of heavy dense air which tends to keep our atmosphere stable. Without any mixing, we don't get rain. So blame it on that.
Another factor contributing to the drought ,specially farther north ,is the low level of Lake Okeechobee. The depth right now is under 12 feet, what is average is around 14 feet. It is of concern, but the Lake is NOT our primary water source. We get our water from the Biscayne aquifer which sits directly below us. The Lake is low in part to Mother Nature and in part to it being drained by the Army Corp of Engineers. They have a list of reasons why, but that's for another post.
So now the last question...When will we see the rain return to South Florida? Typically the rainy season kicks off in the middle of May. The wind patterns change bringing in more heat and humidity leading to our run of the mill afternoon thunderstorms. This will help to bring our water levels back up. We will also get plenty of rain from the occasional tropical wave, and or, tropical system swinging though South Florida. Hopefully if we can get through the next 6-8 weeks, the rains should return.