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Ed DunhamAdministrator
Former Meteorologist & CFHC Forum Moderator (Ed Passed Away on May 14, 2017)

Reged: Sun
Posts: 2565
Loc: Melbourne, FL
The East Central Florida Drought of 2011
      #90398 - Sat Jun 18 2011 12:01 AM

Actually the title is a bit misleading because the extreme drought extends across much of the Southeast and from the Florida panhandle to northeast Florida to the Everglades. The normal precipitation for the year through June 16th for Melbourne, Florida, is 17.16 inches. The actual total for the year so far at the Melbourne NWS office is 11.12 inches, but the lack of rain since April 1st has been significant. For the year, Melbourne is currently 6.04 inches below normal and Vero Beach is 10.26 inches below normal.

In recent years there have been other periods of drought in east central Florida, but none as significant as this year. Here are some records from my location which is about 10 miles northwest of the Melbourne NWS site. The first rainfall total covers the period from January 1st through June 16th and the second total covers the period from April 1st through June 16th:

1995: 8.34" 4.10"
1998: 16.33" 1.78" (a dry Spring and a record heatwave that quickly depleted the water table)
2000: 6.20" 2.80"
2006: 6.69" 4.01"
2011: 5.99" 1.07" (water table at record low levels in many areas of Florida)

Spring droughts are not an uncommon event in east central Florida but the magnitude of the drought this year is highly uncommon. Lawns, shrubs, citrus and other crops all suffer and damage from numerous wildfires are a consequence.

Is there a correlation?
1995: Florida 2 hurricanes and 2 tropical storms
1998: Florida 1 hurricane and 1 tropical storm
2000: Florida 2 tropical storms
2006: Florida 2 tropical storms

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