South Florida Water Levels Are Well Positioned for the Dry Season Start
National Weather Service outlook is for drier-than-normal conditions
Following an above-average wet season, South Florida water levels are positioned to handle a drier-than-average start to the dry season, officials announced on Oct. 18 at a joint briefing by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the National Weather Service (NWS).
"Above-average wet season rainfall provided South Florida with some insurance going into the driest months of the year," said Susan Sylvester, SFWMD Chief of the Water Control Operations Bureau. "We remain mindful, however, that a sustained period of below-average dry season rainfall can have a significant impact on water levels."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center forecast calls for drier-than-normal conditions. The absence of an El Niño or La Niña, however, creates a higher level of uncertainty in the forecast, according to the NWS.
Among the official forecast highlights for the 2013-2014 South Florida dry season:
Entering the dry season, Water Conservation Areas 2 and 3 in Broward and Miami-Dade counties remain above normal, while Water Conservation Area 1 in Palm Beach County is slightly below normal. Overall, water levels across South Florida are at or near their targets for this time of year, with regulation schedules designed to reflect that the hurricane season does not officially end until Nov. 30.
Wet Season Update
South Florida's 2013 wet season produced above-average rainfall in the entire 16-county District, from Orlando to the Florida Keys. District-wide, an average of 39.03 inches of rain, or 6.42 inches above the average, fell between May 19 and Oct. 9. This time period reflects the start and end of the daily sea breeze cycle that characterizes the wet season.
This year's summer season produced several notable numbers:
The Kissimmee and Southwest Coast regions experienced the largest rainfall totals, ranging from 9.63 inches above-average in Lee and Collier counties to 18.61 inches above-average in Highlands and Okeechobee counties. Florida's east coast ranged from 3.82 inches above-average in Martin and St. Lucie counties to 4.34 inches and 5.88 inches above average in Palm Beach and Broward counties, respectively.
Miami-Dade County received the least amount of rainfall in populated areas during the wet season, with 1.44 inches above average.
Lake Okeechobee, which stood at 15.26 feet on Oct. 31, received 34.65 inches of rain during the wet season, representing 126 percent of average or 7.14 inches above average. The Everglades Agricultural Area received 36.30 inches of rainfall, representing 120 percent of average or 6.01 inches above average.
Some highlights of South Florida's recent weather roller coaster include: