Record breaking drought

How low can you go? I used to think that was a phrase reserved for the occasion game of Limbo, however the rain, or lack there of, throughout the past several months has put us into just that; limbo.

So how low were our rainfall values? They were the lowest on record for West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Naples. That's right, THE lowest. In West Palm Beach, 10.05" of rain was all that fell between October 1st and May 31st. That is 22.64" below average for the dry season. Nearly two feet!

These numbers are astounding, and I have no doubt you have seen their aftermath. Very low canals, Lake Okeechobee at a mere 10.45' and water restrictions are only some of the repercussions we are seeing thanks to the lack of rain. The major repercussion is our drought, which just reached the D-4, or "Exceptional" level in Palm Beach County. It is the first time South Florida has EVER seen this level of drought classification.

The question then becomes; when do we see relief? When do the lawns get watered and the canals refilled?

Not for a while. Although the "Wet Season" technically began on May 26th, you could have fooled me. The wet season is defined by the onset of daily rain showers and thunderstorms across south Florida without any special atmospheric feature (like a cold front) causing them. Have you seen much rain over the past week? Our entire area has been hard pressed to see the daily shower development that typically means it's the wet season, the atmosphere has just been too dry!

La Nina can typically be blamed for a weather pattern such as this one. Essentially, we see a high pressure blocking type system in place over the southern states, which prevents cold fronts from making their way down the peninsula and bringing us much needed rain. Although La Nina is expected to dissipate this month, it will be some time before we see any true relief from the drought...until July or August even. It will take south Florida a little bit of time to rebound.

Until then, expect the fire danger to remain high and your lawns crispy. Oh, and forecasts are also looking at above average temperatures to last through the summer and into the fall...keep that ice water handy.

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