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Recent Heavy Rainfall Has Helped Ease Drought Conditions Across East Central Florida

WQCS file

East Central Florida - Monday May 8, 2023: Rainfall increased into late April, as an unsettled weather pattern took hold and generated multiple days of strong to severe storms across the area.

Rainfall amounts from April 20th through April 30th generally ranged from 1 to 3 inches across the interior, and around 2 to 5 inches along much of the coast. However, even higher totals of 6 to 8 inches occurred across St. Lucie County, and up to 6 to 10 inches across northern Brevard County during the last several days of the month. This widespread heavier rainfall helped ease drought conditions across the region. Still, lingering year to date rainfall deficits persist across much of east central Florida, with precipitation totals since January 1st still around 2 to 5 inches below normal for much of the area, and around 6 to 7 inches below normal across portions of Lake County.

While this rainfall ended any severe drought (D2) conditions across east central Florida, moderate drought (D1) and abnormally dry (D0) conditions continue.

From the United States Drought Monitor issued on May 4, 2023:

* Moderate Drought (D1) conditions exist across much of east central Florida.
* Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions exist across portions of the coast, including northern Brevard County, across Martin County and coastal St. Lucie County.

Summary of Impacts

Agricultural Impacts: Reports of drought related impacts have decreased across the area due to the recent rainfall. However, some lingering reports of lower water levels in lakes and ponds,
as well as poor pasture conditions have continued across the interior of east central Florida.

Soil Moisture Conditions: Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) values have continued to improve due to the the recent heavier rainfall, especially along the coast. As of May 6, 2023, KBDI
values average around 100-199 across Brevard County, around 200-299 across St. Lucie and Martin counties, around 300-399 across Indian River County and much of the interior, and 400-499
across Lake County. These values range from normal to lower than normal for this time of year, with this scale running from zero (saturated) to 800 (extreme dryness).

River and Stream Flow Conditions: The latest seven day average streamflow from the USGS as of Sunday, May 7th show values have increased from recent rainfall. Values now range from normal
(25-75 percent of normal) to above normal (76-90 percent of normal) across much of the area. However, across the interior, near to northwest of the I-4 corridor, there remain some locations
with values that are still below normal (10-24 percent of normal) to much below normal (less than 10 percent of normal) for this time of year.

Fire Danger Hazards: Due to the recent heavier rainfall, any burn bans that were in effect have now been lifted across east central Florida.

Climate Summary - January 1 through May 5, 2023 rainfall statistics for select sites across east central Florida:


Precipitation and Temperature Outlook

Through mid May, the Climate Prediction Center`s (CPC) 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks indicate a greater potential for above normal temperatures and above normal precipitation across the area.

Three Month Outlook (May-June-July): The latest CPC outlook for late spring through mid-summer has greater odds for above normal temperatures, with chances slightly leaning toward above normal precipitation across the region. The wet season, characterized by a more daily occurrence of sea breeze generated showers and storms, typically begins around late May to early June across east central Florida. As long as there is no significant delay to the wet season, then rainfall deficits and drought conditions should continue to ease into the summer.