Florida Struggling to Stay Afloat in Wake of Drought

Following an epic dry season full of water shortage warnings, burn bans, and brush fires, Florida’s wet season kicked off on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum, dropping nearly double the amount of rain normally seen in June across the majority of South Florida as well as North-Central parts of the Sunshine State.

The significant rainfall caused high-water emergencies in the southern and central parts of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), particularly the water conservation areas.

June 2017 rainfall map for South Florida

The average rainfall across the SFWMD for June was nearly 15 inches, or roughly 181% above average. Areas of the Everglades Agricultural Area, the Big Cypress National Preserve, and the Southwest Coast, received more than 200% of average rainfall for June.

The three water conservation areas, which convey water south from Lake Okeechobee to Everglades National Park, received the heaviest rainfall. Water Conservation Areas 1 and 2 received 18.49 inches, or 246% of average. Water Conservation Area 3 received 18.74 inches, or 219% of average.

Most of these heavy rains fell in the first two weeks of June. 

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Rainfall totals around the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) were equally impressive during June’s monsoons. According to SJRWMD’s Hydrologic Conditions report, every single county in the District (19 in all), clocked in well above the monthly average for precipitation. Topping the list was Putnam County with a reported total of 16.17 inches of rain in June vs. an average of 6.42 inches.

Despite the deluge, the SJRWMD is still running at a marked rainfall deficit for the prior 12 months cumulative.

Current weather patterns aren’t likely to shift much in short term. In addition, the tropics are starting to heat up. Florida’s wet season generally lasts through mid-October.

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