JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- – Despite some rainfall Wednesday, dry conditions are turning into drought conditions across much of Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida.
The latest Drought Monitor from the National Drought Mitigation Center keeps Jacksonville and much of the area in a moderate drought.
A severe drought continues for areas along and west of the I-75 corridor in north Florida, with abnormally dry conditions along coastal sections of Northeast Florida.
The drought area is relatively unchanged from last week.
The Dry Season
We are in the middle of the dry season and it has been exactly that -- dry.
In December, the Jacksonville International Airport only received 0.25″ of rain. This is more than 2.5″ below the average of 2.78″.
Jacksonville only had four days of measurable rainfall in the month.
So far this January, the Jacksonville airport has received a healthier 2.15″ of rain. However, this is 0.44″ below average.
The lack of rain has helped a drought develop across much of the area, and it may be difficult to remove through the late winter and spring months.
Where is the rain?
The lack of rainfall is largely due to the lack of large storm systems moving across this area.
The La Nina pattern that we have been in has been keeping storm systems further north across portions of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
The storm systems that have impacted the area are often weak and produce minimal rainfall.
A change ahead?
There are some early indications that rainfall may become more plentiful to close out January.
The updated 6-10 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center is highlighting above-average rainfall across the entire region.
However, a more dry pattern is likely heading into February.
The monthly outlook for February is highlighting below-average rainfall for the entire month.
The average rainfall in Jacksonville for February is 2.86″.
While the beneficial rainfall in late January will stop the expansion of the drought, drought conditions are becoming likely for the rest of the winter and likely heading into the early spring months.