Florida’s Wish: Liquid Sunshine

Drought Monitor from Jun. 7, 2011(WEATHER CHANNEL)    Summer and Florida go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Millions of tourists flock to “The Sunshine State” each summer, spending their hard-earned dollars. Naturally, they root for sunshine. Who wants thunderstorms washing out an afternoon at the theme parks or beach?

However, as the image below indicates, much of Florida is in drought, and in some parts, it is quite serious.

Consider these facts:

  • 82% of the state is in drought
  • Ft. Lauderdale has picked up only around 4″ of rain this year! (a deficit of almost 19 inches!)
  • Fla. Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency due to drought and wildfires.
  • Lake Okeechobee is almost 3.5 feet below average.
  • Over 3400 wildfires have burned across the state in 2011, scorching over 243,000 acres.

We are currently in Florida’s “wet season”, however June didn’t start out that way.

Read article: Florida’s Wet and Dry Seasons

Bullish upper-level high pressure over the Southeast effectively suppressed thunderstorm development over most of the peninsula.

That hot, dry pattern has changed. The epicenter of the hot, upper-level ridge has shifted well to the West. This is now allowing Florida’s heat, humidity, and sea-breeze fronts to do their daily work, churning up afternoon thunderstorms.

Pattern earlier this month suppressed any t-storms in Florida

Of course, these t-storms are scattered in nature, so they likely won’t ruin your entire day.

However, this day-in-day-out rain will help to chip away at the severe drought.

Any tropical systems, whether depressions, tropical storms, hurricanes, or even seemingly benign tropical waves or areas of low pressure have the potential of dumping heavy rainfall on a thirsty state.

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