Dry conditions expand before the rainy season ends

The dry season is just beginning in north Florida and we are headed into the driest part of the year with a rainfall deficit which could bring problems for fire season down the road in Spring.

Coastal showers helped erase the dry conditions in this week’s nor’easter along the coastal counties but the rain faded over the interior leaving counties west of the St. Johns River with new dry areas in yellow on this week’s drought monitor map.

The latest map, published Thursday, described a “rapid onset and intensification of drought” across the South.

Large zones of extreme to exceptional drought, the two highest categories, covered a zone from New Mexico to southern Mississippi, including Austin and Beaumont in Texas and Baton Rouge.

The drought spreading across the rim of the northern Gulf has hit quickly covering 97% of Louisianna.

The start of Jacksonville’s rainy season began on June 3, according to data from the Climate Prediction Center, and ends roughly 281 days into the year on Oct. 8. November is the driest month, typically receiving just over 2 inches of rain.

Only nine days in September had more than a tenth of an inch of rain and the month would have ended up with over a 4-inch deficit if it weren’t for a record deluge of 4.44 inches of rain on September 26.

September is typically the wettest month in Jacksonville where average rainfall equals .31″ per day. The boost comes from the frequency of tropical cyclones targeting the area during the height of the Atlantic hurricane season. Fortunately, Florida saw no tropical activity during the month but as a result, much of the state’s rain is running below average or in a drought along west central Florida.

November sees the fewest number of days of rain compared to an average of 114 rainy days per year in Jacksonville.

The good news is the El Niño pattern this winter should favor more rain across Florida as the jet stream enhances storms moving out of the Gulf.

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