Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rain,rain, don't go away!

May 20th is the typical start of the rainy season in South Florida. It can run all the way through Mid-October and provide us with up to 44" of fresh water. This in turn refurbishes the aquifers across the area.

The "Rainy Season" is part of the overall South Florida weather pattern, and a very important one. Here is a list of some common questions regarding this soggy cycle.

  • This year our rainy season is running late. Why? 

We can blame it on a persistent jet stream keeping a well established dry air mass over us longer than expected.

  • Can this be blamed on "El Niño"?

No. As a matter of fact a report by NOAA released recently suggests that even though the Equatorial waters of the Pacific are warming, they remain near normal levels and so for the time being, "El Niño" remains in a neutral phase. It is forecast to emerge during late summer.

  • We had strong storms last week, doesn't that mean the start of rainy season?

Good question but, no. All that rain was due to an Out-of-Season cold front that made it all the way South into our area.

  • How can you tell when the "Rainy Season" has started?

Here is the formula for determining when it has begun.
We need three consecutive days of the following:

  1. Sea surface temps need to be at 80 degrees or above
  2. The dew points have to be over 70 degrees ( amount of moisture in air)
  3. And of course, thunderstorm activity

As of this moment, this recipe has not been met.

For many, our "Rainy Season" is a nuisance but it is vital for our way of life.
We get 70% of our yearly rainfall during this period equaling anywhere between 33 - 44 inches. This keeps our water table healthy, and nurtures our South Florida foliage.

By the way, the latest start to the "Rainy Season" since 1956 is June 9th, 2011 . The way things are going we may come close to the late start date.

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