Parts of the Florida peninsula may finally get enough rain to settle the garden dust as November slides out and December begins.
Major rainfall deficits have built up around the state, and if it weren’t for the fact that water levels are still good in Lake Okeechobee we’d be hearing more about Florida’s water problems.
On the last day of the month, West Palm Beach was looking at a 3.61-inch rainfall deficit for November; 2.25 inches in Miami and 2.16 inches in Fort Lauderdale.
Naples was continuing to post goose eggs on Wednesday — no measurable rain has fallen during the month at all. Things are equally dire on the Treasure Coast and in Central Florida as well as Florida’s West Coast from Naples up to north of Tampa.
How much these conditions may ease with this week’s forecast rains is the sticky question. The National Weather Service has a chance of rain in the forecast each day in South Florida from Thursday through Tuesday, with chances as high as 50 percent on Thursday and 30 percent on Monday.
But NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is showing a measly half-inch or so for Southeastern Florida and Central Florida, so don’t bother to turn your irrigation system off. Most of the action looks to be in North Florida and the panhandle, with as much as 2 inches of rain in the forecast for the far western panhandle into early next week.
With all the excitement over Hurricane Matthew this fall, the U.S. Drought Monitor has gone largely unnoticed in these parts. But Abnormally Dry conditions have been creeping down the Florida peninsula over the last few weeks and now encompass an area from north of Tampa to just south of Jacksonville.
Extreme Drought has taken hold in parts of the Florida panhandle.
Expect those designations to begin popping up farther south unless we get an early December cold front that stalls out.
The new drought analysis comes out Thursday and I’ll have an update, checking out conditions not only in Florida but around the country.
As of last week, Exceptional Drought was still centered in Southern California and the mountain areas of Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee.