Drought Conditions Deepen Across Central Florida

Burn ban sign posted along S.R. A1A in Flagler County, FL, due to drought conditions
How dry is it around Florida? Burn ban signs like this one seen along S.R. A1A in Flagler County are common.
Photo by Paul Rusnak

Despite a front that brought minimal amounts of rain over the weekend, the Sunshine State’s record-setting dry season continues to rage on. And with nothing currently showing on the radar by way of precipitation, the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) Governing Board has approved expanding its current Water Shortage Warning Order to include all areas within the district’s 18-county jurisdiction.

According to the SJRWMD, the purpose of the Order is to encourage conservation practices among residential and commercial users.

Recent rainfall totals and short-term trends solidified SJRWMD’s decision to expand the order.

  • The counties with the least rainfall were Orange, Brevard, Osceola, and Okeechobee counties, which each received less than one inch during May so far.
  • Highest rainfalls occurred in Clay, with 3.08 inches, St. Johns, with 3.11 inches, Alachua County with 3.95 inches.
  • Southern Duval and Baker counties also received above-average rainfall, with 2.77 inches and 3.41 inches, respectively.
April 2017 rainfall map for St. Johns River Water Management District in Central Florida
Graphic courtesy of the St. Johns River Water Management District

In April, the City of Orlando received no measurable rainfall, an extremely rare occurrence.

Liz Felter, Orange County UF/IFAS Commercial Horticulture Agent, says the lack of rain, combined with the high temperatures, has made this growing season very challenging. “Farmers are using supplemental irrigation. They are diligently monitoring their irrigation systems to insure they are working properly for maximum efficiency.”

What kind of impact is the current drought having on your farm?

  • Significant (77%, 54 Votes)
  • Some (13%, 9 Votes)
  • None (10%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 70

Loading ... Loading ...

In addition, burn bans continue for all District-owned properties due to the extreme dry conditions. Numerous brush fires are still ablaze across the state.

According to Joe Walter, UF/IFAS Brevard County Extension Agent, this dry season is definitely one for the ages. “It’s the driest I’ve ever seen it; even worse than 1998, and that was the bad one.”

Walter estimated the water table in his area to be running about 8 feet below normal. “It’s not a good place to be right now.”

On a related note, USDA recently designated eight counties in Florida as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by a recent drought. Those counties include: Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee, Osceola, and Polk.

In addition, farmers in the following counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties include: Brevard, Hendry, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Sarasota, St. Lucie, and Sumter.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration (in this case, May 10) to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. Contact your local Farm Service Agency office for more information.

Topics: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
Citrus
November 14, 2017
USDA Announces Grants to Promote IPM Practices
Methyl bromide transition, crop protection management among programs funded. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
Biostimulants Making Big Strides as It Seeks Organization
The inaugural BiocontrolsSM USA East Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL, featured two days of educational sessions focused on how Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
So What Exactly Are Biostimulants, Anyway?
Biostimulants are one of the hottest new topics in specialty crops, but most growers could use a little clarity on where they fit. Here are the basics you need to know. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
Microbial-based Biostimulants: Big Potential in Small Packages
There is no shortage of interest in or questions and opinions about biostimulants. Many are working to develop them as Read More
Citrus fruit drop from Hurricane Irma as seen during Biocontrols East 2017 tour
Citrus
November 9, 2017
Forecasters Subtract another Slice from Florida Citrus
USDA’s second stab at the season thins orange crop by another 7%; would be lowest output in more than 70 years. Read More
Citrus
November 7, 2017
New Tool Helps Growers Improve Phosphorus Efficiency
Technology newly available to specialty crop growers provides economic and environmental benefits. Read More
Citrus
November 7, 2017
Comments Sought in Ag Water Component of FSMA
Growers and other interested parties are encouraged by United Fresh to weigh in on agricultural water requirements in the Food Safety Modernization Act. Read More
Sun-and-moon
Citrus
November 7, 2017
Study: Circadian Clock in Plants May Boost Water Efficiency
The Texas A&M team that won a 2017 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine on circadian rhythm at a molecular level turn their attention to plants. Read More
Citrus stew courtesy of Irma
Citrus
November 6, 2017
South Florida Wringing out From Record-Setting Wet Season
Tropical torrents, along with a persistent precipitation pattern, helps break 70-year high-water mark. Read More
Citrus
November 2, 2017
Field Scouting Guide: Yellow Nutsedge
Follow these tips to identify and manage this wily weed. Read More
Citrus
November 1, 2017
Produce Industry Leaders Concerned About H-2C Amendments
It’s been a long time since significant immigration reform that will help American growers has passed Congress. The most promising Read More
Joseph Lowell Loadholtz
Citrus
October 30, 2017
Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Makes Room for Four More
Outstanding lifetime achievers in the state’s farming sector join elite list of honorees. Read More
Citrus
October 25, 2017
After a Delay, H-2C Is Getting a Committee Review
The Ag Worker Act must make it past the Judiciary Committee to have a chance of making it to the House floor. Read More
Immokalee< FL, Farm and Grove aerial view
Business Planning
October 25, 2017
Matchmaking Made Easy for Land Owners and Seekers
New website provides revenue potential for property holders. Read More
Benny McLean talks Tamarixia wasps during Biocontrols East 2017 tour
Biocontrols Conference
October 23, 2017
Biocontrol Gains Traction in the East
Biological control — whether you’re talking about biochemicals, microbial products, beneficials, or even the relatively new category of biostimulants — Read More
The Latest
Citrus
November 17, 2017
Alico Overhaul to Cut Citrus Production …
Company restructuring aims to integrate legacy businesses and reduce input costs significantly. Read More
Citrus
November 17, 2017
Sustainable Farming Projects in Florida …
St. Johns River Water Management District grants backing to 12 on-farm plans aimed at resource conservation and nutrient reduction. Read More
Citrus
November 17, 2017
Florida Citrus Tree Rehab in Full Swing …
With Hurricane Irma well in the rear view, growers and researchers hope to work groves back to a productive state as HLB rages on. Read More
Citrus
November 14, 2017
USDA Announces Grants to Promote IPM Pra…
Methyl bromide transition, crop protection management among programs funded. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
Biostimulants Making Big Strides as It S…
The inaugural BiocontrolsSM USA East Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL, featured two days of educational sessions focused on how Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
So What Exactly Are Biostimulants, Anywa…
Biostimulants are one of the hottest new topics in specialty crops, but most growers could use a little clarity on where they fit. Here are the basics you need to know. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
Microbial-based Biostimulants: Big Poten…
There is no shortage of interest in or questions and opinions about biostimulants. Many are working to develop them as Read More
Citrus
November 9, 2017
Forecasters Subtract another Slice from …
USDA’s second stab at the season thins orange crop by another 7%; would be lowest output in more than 70 years. Read More
Citrus
November 7, 2017
New Tool Helps Growers Improve Phosphoru…
Technology newly available to specialty crop growers provides economic and environmental benefits. Read More
Citrus
November 7, 2017
Comments Sought in Ag Water Component of…
Growers and other interested parties are encouraged by United Fresh to weigh in on agricultural water requirements in the Food Safety Modernization Act. Read More
Citrus
November 7, 2017
Study: Circadian Clock in Plants May Boo…
The Texas A&M team that won a 2017 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine on circadian rhythm at a molecular level turn their attention to plants. Read More
Citrus
November 6, 2017
South Florida Wringing out From Record-S…
Tropical torrents, along with a persistent precipitation pattern, helps break 70-year high-water mark. Read More
Citrus
November 2, 2017
Field Scouting Guide: Yellow Nutsedge
Follow these tips to identify and manage this wily weed. Read More
Citrus
November 1, 2017
Produce Industry Leaders Concerned About…
It’s been a long time since significant immigration reform that will help American growers has passed Congress. The most promising Read More
Citrus
October 30, 2017
Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Makes …
Outstanding lifetime achievers in the state’s farming sector join elite list of honorees. Read More
Citrus
October 25, 2017
After a Delay, H-2C Is Getting a Committ…
The Ag Worker Act must make it past the Judiciary Committee to have a chance of making it to the House floor. Read More
Business Planning
October 25, 2017
Matchmaking Made Easy for Land Owners an…
New website provides revenue potential for property holders. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
October 23, 2017
Biocontrol Gains Traction in the East
Biological control — whether you’re talking about biochemicals, microbial products, beneficials, or even the relatively new category of biostimulants — Read More