Gaughan's view: Massive rains & historic floods

2 tropical storm in 5 weeks drown Northeast Florida, Southeast Georgia

By John Gaughan - Chief meteorologist
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - What an amazing month that we've witnessed in Northeast Florida. From May 27 to June 27, it just seems like it's been raining all the time!

Between 22 to 40 inches of rain have fallen across much of North Florida and parts of South Georgia in the past five weeks.

It started with Beryl coming right into Jacksonville Beach -- the first time in decades a tropical cyclone had come straight onshore. The other notable storm that did was Category 2 Hurricane Dora back in 1964.

It was also the strongest tropical storm ever to make landfall in the United States before the June 1 official start of the hurricane season.

Quick reminder, hurricanes are typically defined by wind damage and storm surge they bring. Later, as they weaken into tropical storms, it's all about heavy rainfall.

Tropical storm Debby was a massive rain maker! The National Weather Service map of rainfall from Debby (top of page) shows the worst of the rains were along Interstate 10.

Macclenny saw nearly 18 inches of rain in three days! It's little wonder that flooding along the St. Marys River and Black Creek was historic.

So, why the huge pattern shift? I personally believe the blame falls on El Niño and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The NAO is the location of the semi-permanent location of the Greenland Low pressure. When El Niño is in full bloom and the NAO is in a certain position, we tend to get dumped on!

Add in tropical moisture and the results are phenomenal.

What about the hurricane season ahead? Right now, there's a true tropical wave we are watching in the Atlantic. It will be reaching the United States in about nine days, but where?   It's too early to tell, so stay tuned to The Weather Authority. 

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