Florida Dry Season Stuck in Rain Delay

Florida Dry Season Stuck in Rain Delay

Florida St. Johns River Water Management District Jan. 2018 rainfall map

Rainfall across the 18-county St. Johns River Water Management District in Florida was above average in January — a time of year when the ground is typically high and dry.

Normally during the winter months, Florida lives up to its “Sunshine State” moniker as the dry season officially takes over. Apparently for this go-round, Mother Nature has not received the memo yet.

According to the latest hydrological report from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), January produced above-average rainfall across the north and east-central Florida counties. December’s precipitation output around the region was more in line with a typical dry season, but the pendulum has swung back to the soggy side in the new year.

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  • Flagler County had the highest rainfall for the month with 5.1 inches.
  • Orange and Seminole counties received 2.2 inches and 2.3 inches respectively.
  • On the dry side, Indian River County had less than 1.7 inches of rainfall in January.

So far in February, multiple weather fronts have ushered in unexpected moisture to the peninsula, keeping farmers on their toes.

Overall, the 12-month rainfall totals are above average throughout the District, thanks in large part to what was a hurricane season to remember. Counties with the highest 12-month totals are Putnam (67.8 inches) and Flagler (66.2 inches).

Prior to last summer and fall’s soaking, most of Florida was experiencing drier- and warmer-than-normal conditions due to a persistent weather pattern indicative of a La Niña climate phase. Near the end of 2017, forecasters had predicted the same conditions for this winter. Up to this point, cold (relatively speaking for Florida) and wet have been the trend.

Via AgroClimate, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society is reporting a weak La Niña in effect and should continue through at least early spring, followed by a likely return to neutral conditions around mid-spring.

Despite wetter-than-normal conditions in recent months around the SJRWMD, the 36-month rainfall total is still below average districtwide.