One’s yard may have a different shade of green at the moment – if it’s green at all. Brown lawns and drying creeks are pretty typical this time of year not only in Tallahassee but for much of Florida.
May, or spring in general, is known as the dry season in the Sunshine State. The cold fronts and dips in the jet stream don’t quite make it as far in the Deep South as they do in the winter months (Winsberg 2003). High pressure also keeps the state dry, as well. For instance, in April, much of the Florida panhandle receives only a tenth of an inch of rain for 5 to 6 days out of the month on average (Winsberg 2003).
But it has been drier than normal for many in the Big Bend. From March 1 to present, Apalachicola has only received 2.40 inches of rain. That’s nearly 6.50 inches below normal for the same period. The news is better for Tallahassee as the airport has nearly an inch surplus since March 1, but a deficit of over 2 inches year to date. But we are in a middle of a streak in our area. As of this post, there has been no measured rainfall since late April.
My earlier tweet about no-rainfall streaks was not completely accurate. It has been quite dry over a portion of the Southeast centered on north Florida and south Georgia (14 days of no rainfall in #Tallahassee). Rainfall will be scarce in the same area over the next 7 days. pic.twitter.com/MepRkQSOrs
— Danny Brouillette (@HoarFrostInFL) May 8, 2018
To answer the question on the headline, we have to look at what’s normal for Tallahassee. Looking at the average daily rainfall over a 30-year period (1981-2010), there is an uptick in rainfall in late May.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean it would be late May. It could be earlier or later depending on the weather patterns at hand.
In the near term, there is some hope. Guidance has been persistent about a cut-off low in the upper levels moving into the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. This would add moisture from the tropics into the peninsula and possibly farther north. Rain chances will begin to increase in the Big Bend and South Georgia starting this weekend and jump more the start of the next work week.
Trends will continue to be monitored, but there may be hope for that grass to turn a little greener.
Winsberg, M., 2003: Florida Weather, Second Edition. University Press of Florida. 218pp