Severe Drought spread through the central and southern Florida peninsula this week, encompassing areas from the Treasure Coast in the east to Naples north to Tampa on the Gulf Coast.
Almost all of Collier County was dropped into the Severe Drought category by the U.S. Drought Monitor in a new assessment released Thursday, and even parts of western Miami-Dade County as well as Broward County and northwestern Palm Beach County were dealing with Moderate Drought. The metro areas of South Florida, from Miami to West Palm Beach, remained Abnormally Dry.
West Palm Beach received the first measurable rainfall of the month on Wednesday — 0.01 of an inch as moisture associated with a low pressure area in the Atlantic sent a few showers streaming into South Florida in the morning. Palm Beach International Airport is 1.6 inches below normal for the month.
Miami also had its first measurable rainfall for April with 0.06 of an inch; Fort Lauderdale also had 0.06 of an inch; but Naples reported just a trace.
Some areas of Hendry County picked up as much as 0.77 of an inch of rain on Wednesday, and an unofficial observer in the Everglades east of Naples reported 1.46 inches.
And an observer west of Miami reported 1.92 inches.
Spotty showers may continue over Florida’s East Coast as high pressure building over Bermuda pumps a more humid air mass over the peninsula through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.
TROPICAL FORECAST ACCURACY RISES: The National Hurricane Center set records for accuracy in the 12- to 96-hour periods with their 2016 forecasts, the agency said in its forecast verification report.
“The mean NHC official track forecast errors in the Atlantic basin were smaller than the
previous 5-yr means at all forecast times,” the agency reported.
Intensity forecasts errors were lower than the five-year mean for 48 hour forecasts, but slightly higher than the mean for longer lead times, officials said.