Sunday, December 5, 2010

Drought Dispatch: Florida's Fall Increased Intensity

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows that the intensity of the ongoing drought increased in Florida through the last reporting week of November and the end of meteorological fall. As of November 30, only 4% of the state (in the extreme southeast) was free of drought conditions, down from 8% the previous week and 74% at the beginning of autumn. The portion of the state in Extreme Drought (Category D3), the second highest category, was 8%, up from 2% the previous week.

Dry conditions in Florida began to become established in mid summer, and they have steadily increased since then. Although percentages of normal precipitation increased somewhat in November from October's ultra bone-dry levels, particularly in a small area on the southwestern coast and panhandle, they were well below 75% over much of the state.

November precipitation was substantially substandard in most of east-central Florida. The National Weather Service (NWS) reports that the measurable rainfall on November 2 ended a 34-day dry spell at both Orlando and Melbourne. This was the 4th longest rain-free stretch at Orlando on record and the 5th longest at Melbourne. Melbourne was the only major reporting station in the region to report above-average rainfall for the month. The total of 4.62" for the autumn season at Daytona Beach was a new record low, surpassing the 5.37" in 1925.
STATION           NOV 2010      30 YEAR   DEPARTURE     PERCENT OF

DAYTONA BEACH 0.95" 3.03" -2.08" 31%
ORLANDO 1.68" 2.32" -0.64" 72%
MELBOURNE 3.43" 3.12" +0.31" 110%
VERO BEACH 2.43" 3.04" -0.61" 80%
CLERMONT 1.67" 2.40" -0.73" 70%
DELAND 1.74" 2.72" -0.98" 64%
SANFORD 1.37" 2.96" -1.59" 46%
TITUSVILLE 1.71" 3.45" -1.74" 50%
FORT PIERCE 1.38" 3.50" -2.12" 39%
STUART 2.29" 4.23" -1.94" 54%
Images (click to enlarge): Florida drought monitor for November 30, 2010 from USDA/NOAA--intensity ranges from D0/Abnormally Dry (yellow) through D3/Extreme Drought (red); Florida percent of normal precipitation for October and November 2010, from National Weather Service

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