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No end to Jacksonville dry spell

Winter drought may increase

October 25% less than our normal rainfall since Hurricane Matthew passed. The dry weather covered most of the state and little change is expected through November.
October 25% less than our normal rainfall since Hurricane Matthew passed. The dry weather covered most of the state and little change is expected through November.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – November is the driest month of the year for Jacksonville and the seasonal forecast is looking drier than usual.  

Our dry season is here. Look for decreasing threats from tropical systems with just 30 days left to the season and thunderstorms ease back without enough solar radiation. Available low level moisture shuts off which help produce daily downpours. 

During the dry season, Florida is almost entirely dependent on passing extratropical cyclones or disturbances in the westerlies to bring rainfall. Rainier winter months depend on upper level jet stream winds that push disturbances like cold fronts and surface low pressure storms our way. This typically kick's in between January through March. 

But the timing of La Niña may make this winter season drier. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center says the odds of cooler water increasing in the Pacific is 70%. La Nina pushes the storm track farther north away from Jacksonville. In turn, fewer storms and more persistent high pressure systems set in resulting in a greater than normal threat of drought and wildfire to Florida. 

We're dried out from months of below average rain totals while areas across central and west Florida have received surplus rainfall earlier in the summer. For the year Jacksonville is down more than eleven inches of rain. Only four months had more than average rain while all others fell far short.

For months during the summer we were on the drought index dry scale and August was on pace for record low rain. The tropics woke up with Hermine and then came Hurricane Matthew on October 7th.

Fortunately Hurricane Matthew, skipped past northeast Florida with 7 to 10 inches of rain. It could of been worse. We were spared from the devastating freshwater flooding that Haiti and the Carolinas suffered with two feet of deluge.


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