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For some, Florida drought is getting very "extreme"


SubTropicRay

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After 0” of rain for 3 weeks + we got 0.13” a few days ago. Since then - nada. Clouds and occasional thunder but no rain at our 0.61 acre Paradise.

You got to understand: just a few miles south of us the clouds opened up. Lots of rain, happy residents. But in our neighborhood - NADA. So I can only shake my head in frustration. That’s the vagaries of weather in FL. I can only hope everyone else’s bounty will refresh the aquifers and feed Lake Okeechobee.

Cape Coral’s dual water system saves the palms I have left.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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Heres the departures from normal for June rainfall:

TBW_depobs_precip.png.c7fa48281d77d16260874c0fea858632.png

MFL_depobs_precip.png.d534c9c9d3330a57c5f3f0d202f816d0.png

You can definitely see what pattern has been dominant throughout June and will continue to be dominant for at least the next 10 days according to the GFS and Euro. The pattern may continue beyond 10 days but forecast skill beyond this timeframe drops significantly.

gfs_apcpn_seus_40.png.7c512d1250e9e161669e8ffa48a758ac.png

ecmwf_apcpn_seus_64.png.ad2d4280f426e9922655d8f415320fc7.png

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Palms - 4 S. romanzoffiana, 2 W. bifurcata, 4 W. robusta, 2 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 2 S. palmetto, 1 A. merillii, 3 P. sylvestris, 1 BxJ, 1 BxJxBxS, 2 BxS, 2 L. chinensis, 1 C. nucifera, 1 P. roebelenii, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 H. verschaffeltii, 1 T. fortunei, 1 C. humilis, 1 C. cataractarum, 1 S. repens

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We got two light showers the last few mornings and this morning the low was 84 before a rain shower after sunrise dropped it briefly.  The only rain this season of substance was two days and thats it. I have never watered so much this time of year before, even with the west wind pattern it usually breaks at some point.  Not this year and i have never seen a low of 84 before. 83 in largo, but not up here away from the city heat island to my knowledge.  The block pattern is set to continue for a bit too.  Like the reverse of the cool air in 2010 or something.

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1 hour ago, flplantguy said:

We got two light showers the last few mornings and this morning the low was 84 before a rain shower after sunrise dropped it briefly.  The only rain this season of substance was two days and thats it. I have never watered so much this time of year before, even with the west wind pattern it usually breaks at some point.  Not this year and i have never seen a low of 84 before. 83 in largo, but not up here away from the city heat island to my knowledge.  The block pattern is set to continue for a bit too.  Like the reverse of the cool air in 2010 or something.

Looks like we got slightly more rain than normal here but its been dry recently. Hot and dry! We finally got .20 and .26 yesterday afternoon and last night. The grass was going crispy and the 3 rain barrels I have were empty. I hope we get more today. 

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Ended up with about 0.50 inches today and about an inch of rain 2 days ago.  That's it for the month so far.  With how hot and dry it has been, a few Veitchia fronds have a bit of burn on them.  My thermometers have been cresting at almost 100F each day.

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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The drought monitor is finally catching up to my reality.  The map yellow has turned brown again and will surely get into the orange/red soon.  We are headed for a ridiculous 7th consecutive week of a west wind with no significant changes in sight.  My Live oak is dropping leaves like it does in the fall.   Survival mode has kicked in even for the native plants.

 

image.png

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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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13 minutes ago, SubTropicRay said:

The drought monitor is finally catching up to my reality.  The map yellow has turned brown again and will surely get into the orange/red soon.  We are headed for a ridiculous 7th consecutive week of a west wind with no significant changes in sight.  My Live oak is dropping leaves like it does in the fall.   Survival mode has kicked in even for the native plants.

 

image.png

I saw this driving this weekend too.  I friend of mine asked about a tree that stood out and this is why.  Inland was fine but the coast is struggling and im getting tired of watering plants first thing when its 83 degrees for the low.  I tell myself if i get through these times with the garden i will know what to do different but its not easy to get there lol.

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I received a very unexpected inch of rain yesterday.  It was nice to feel like an east coaster even if just for a few minutes 😀.

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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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13 hours ago, SubTropicRay said:

I received a very unexpected inch of rain yesterday.  It was nice to feel like an east coaster even if just for a few minutes 😀.

Hope more is to come.  Way too dry for this time of year from the Big Bend to Naples.

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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June wasn't even that bad here (an inch or so below normal according to the map above which seems about right) but July has been brutal so far. 

Forecast finally starting to look better with some higher rain chances starting today:

https://www.sfwmd.gov/weather-radar/sfwmd-forecast

Edited by aabell
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We are in very bad shape.  Like the long time local weather forecaster mentions, I too have never seen a severe category drought index in the month of July.  We are in uncharted territory.  Driest summer since records began in 1890 is on tap.  

IMG_1734.png

Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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Thus far, July has been above average in regard to temperature and much below average on the precipitation front.  Records for the first half of July in my area from a DVP2:

202307150020_KFLLAKEL44_HalfOfJuly.jpg.02e069fadc30d5c6f358ea70b9b96828.jpg

 

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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hmmm....what a surprise.  Week 8 of the west wind is here.   Looks like the rich get richer.

 

image.png.7c9c020a5f4a13c7ec12577895d67b44.png

 

Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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I wonder if there has ever been a failed rainy season here before?  Or would this be the "latest start" for the west coast?  I dont think it quite qualifies for either its just a ridiculous pattern that needs to end. Gently not the other way lol.

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Let me calculate a moment.

So far for July my 0.61 ac received the following rainfall: 0.13" + 0.06" + 0.10"  = 0.29" of rain as of 7/17/23 a.m.

That one-tenth inch received a couple days ago was not predicted. A cloud on its way inland accidentally dropped some rain on us. The winds so far this summer have blown from the W or SW so that any storms that form over the Gulf or inland are blown toward the east coast before they muster their rainfall. If the winds don't shift we are in big trouble this summer. I don't want to contemplate our coming 7-1/2 month dry season. Even Lake Okeechobee is dropping fast .

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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Unexpected blessing: yesterday morning we received 1.5" in a brief gully washer.

Total rainfall for July as of this moment: 0.29" + 1.50" = 1.79"

Fluke or good omen?

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Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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4 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Fluke or good omen?

Hopefully a good omen that the drought is breaking.

On 7/17/2023 at 8:57 AM, flplantguy said:

I wonder if there has ever been a failed rainy season here before?  Or would this be the "latest start" for the west coast?  I dont think it quite qualifies for either its just a ridiculous pattern that needs to end. Gently not the other way lol.

Good question.  The drought I have always heard about is the 1998 drought.  A comparison between this year and then would be interesting.

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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12 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

Hopefully a good omen that the drought is breaking.

Good question.  The drought I have always heard about is the 1998 drought.  A comparison between this year and then would be interesting.

I moved here in 1993. I remember one year - 1998 may be it - when rainy season didn’t get underway until after July 4 but I don’t remember a drought that lasted through and beyond late July.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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2 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

I moved here in 1993. I remember one year - 1998 may be it - when rainy season didn’t get underway until after July 4 but I don’t remember a drought that lasted through and beyond late July.

A lot of data here going back to 1992. 1998 was indeed the driest June on record: https://naturalresources.leegov.com/

The county average here for July is 3.41" - low, but we will see what happens in the next 10 days. (1996 is the lowest recorded with 5.09",  2022 had only 6.47")

This data is averaged from a bunch of monitoring sites across the county, and as always with these storms in Florida, July has been very spotty. Some collection sites in the county have recorded 10+ inches for the month and others less than 1". For the most part the coastal and populated areas, including Cape Coral and Fort Myers, have been in the dry zone. Page Field, the closest site to downtown Fort Myers, sits at 1.2".  Agualinda Water Plant in Cape Coral has 0.84". You can see the disparity here (going back to June 20, as of today): https://www.sfwmd.gov/weather-radar/rainfall-historical/pixel-rainfall-last-30days 

Yesterday a big storm sat stubbornly north of the Caloosahatchee/East of 75, with constant lightning and dark clouds all afternoon but barely enough rain to wet the sidewalk here. The good news is that the agricultural and wilderness areas in the north/east of the county shouldn't be experiencing much drought. My garden needs some rain though! Stormier weather the past few days has been a good sign, although Saharan dust is moving in over the weekend.

 

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It has been as dry as I have ever seen it here this far into summer. It finally rained a little here this evening (probably .05 inches…), nowhere near a storm or anything, just enough to keep things from spontaneously combusting. I have reclaimed water here to water stuff but it’s no where near the same as real rainwater. I live right in the heart of that Florida drought map lol 

IMG_4014.jpeg

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Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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Prevailing winds have been out of the west for this summer. I think there have been a few light showers here and there off the gulf in the wee hours of the morning but no real afternoon storms like there should be this time of year here. They have all been inland, and even those inland storms have not been as numerous as they should be…

Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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Tampa has gotten rain the past couple days, but each time the storms have fallen apart around the Veteran's Expressway. It’s disappointing to see it raining 3 miles east just to die out. lol

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Westchase | 9b

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2 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

Tampa has gotten rain the past couple days, but each time the storms have fallen apart around the Veteran's Expressway. It’s disappointing to see it raining 3 miles east just to die out. lol

Had a similar experience two days ago over here.  It was raining hard on South Florida Avenue.  Got here and the grass wasn't even wet.

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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9 hours ago, ruskinPalms said:

It has been as dry as I have ever seen it here this far into summer. It finally rained a little here this evening (probably .05 inches…), nowhere near a storm or anything, just enough to keep things from spontaneously combusting. I have reclaimed water here to water stuff but it’s no where near the same as real rainwater. I live right in the heart of that Florida drought map lol 

IMG_4014.jpeg

How great that rivularis looks.  

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The normal ESE wind kicked in for 2 days.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Week 9 of the west wind returns today.

image.thumb.png.089b2bf206858d9e1a3e8e41781fa196.png

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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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Still dry and now excessive heat warnings for parts of the state.  When was the last time, if ever, an exessive heat warning was issued in florida?

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7 hours ago, SubTropicRay said:

The normal ESE wind kicked in for 2 days.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Week 9 of the west wind returns today.

image.thumb.png.089b2bf206858d9e1a3e8e41781fa196.png

Never made it here, hope you got some in South Tampa at least. 

Westchase | 9b

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A lot of coastal areas have only received 10-12” of rain all year. 😳

IMG_0388.jpeg.b181c80e77fd48a01b184146bb12c6c3.jpeg

Edited by RedRabbit
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Westchase | 9b

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So Tarpon Springs has had 11'',  Tampa has had 14'', and I'm in the middle so I should have had somewhere around 13''.  Turns out it's higher:

Jan 3.06
Feb 0.28
Mar 0.21
Apr 2.26
May 4.69
June 7
July 2.15
  16.59
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Westchase | 9b

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4 hours ago, flplantguy said:

Still dry and now excessive heat warnings for parts of the state.  When was the last time, if ever, an exessive heat warning was issued in florida?

The criteria for an Excessive Heat Warning according to UF:

https://emergency.ufl.edu/storm-ready/weather-hazards/extreme-heat/

image.png.632d9cdb428b5a785f23c4f0d2a74862.png

Based on the above criteria, could have been issued nearly every day this July in spots.  Where I'm at, we've had max heat indexes ~120F multiple times.  The records below are an expanded version of the DVP2 records in my July 15th post above.

image.png.e87f45867fbc41c8a3f980f1ecd062cb.png

If anyone wants to calculate their Heat Index: https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/html/heatindex.shtml

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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I have met that repeatedly this summer also.  Its like a whole other environment this year.  Watch our rainy season be in winter with el nino at the helm.  Ill never plant a plant without being on irrigation again except cactus lol.

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4 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

The criteria for an Excessive Heat Warning according to UF:

https://emergency.ufl.edu/storm-ready/weather-hazards/extreme-heat/

image.png.632d9cdb428b5a785f23c4f0d2a74862.png

Based on the above criteria, could have been issued nearly every day this July in spots.  Where I'm at, we've had max heat indexes ~120F multiple times.  The records below are an expanded version of the DVP2 records in my July 15th post above.

image.png.e87f45867fbc41c8a3f980f1ecd062cb.png

If anyone wants to calculate their Heat Index: https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/html/heatindex.shtml

I always get these crazy high heat index numbers I don’t always believe. Today the high was 99f conservatively so the heat index was 115f? Maybe, but that still sounds a little high. 
IMG_0390.thumb.png.6dcd9a5ca629db20f9211af0fbd37895.png

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Westchase | 9b

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1 minute ago, RedRabbit said:

I always get these crazy high heat index numbers I don’t always believe. Today the high was 99f conservatively so the heat index was 115f? Maybe, but that still sounds a little high.

I'm personally not big on the Heat Index metric to be honest.  The formula used to calculate a Heat Index is a bit convoluted. 

For the chart I posted, I used the NWS calculator for the High Temperature and dew point readings to get the range.  If both the highest and lowest numbers were over 105F, it guarantees the heat index was over 105F at some point that day.  Using the humidity measurement might yield different results than the dew point since PWS tend to have a wider range on their humidity readings.

That said, 99F is hot no matter how you slice it 🔥 

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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On this side we continue to get soaked/minor flooded almost every day.   It’s hot, like 90ish every day, with nighttime lows around 82F.    With work randomness, I can’t get out there to mow and trim on time, so things are getting overgrown and shaggy a lot, and it pours like clockwork every time I step outside to mow.  I’ve irrigated twice in 2 months….  A record for me, by far.  

Fort Lauderdale….
9C883E1A-F3D9-41FA-B0C6-82A0F87C7588.thumb.jpeg.b42c190027403fffae5eb02e079dd174.jpeg
 

Compared to Naples, across on the other coast….  Crazy.  
026E7E5A-E544-47E1-8DFB-8121F7A55EA3.thumb.jpeg.005f3ee540c8a81cac454740b5c95521.jpeg
 

Everyone swims for part of the day…

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01FA5BAF-AD18-4AD2-BE97-0D9CDC3EED88.thumb.jpeg.0316d44c2eb4c10d49e33c4f83bb2793.jpeg

177B04CB-94DB-42EE-9072-F6E9E1490593.thumb.jpeg.8a53fe80d48db562f3af0d83b55fe26b.jpeg

CA820C37-842C-4750-915A-77CF36C76BD0.thumb.jpeg.ef2bf1541d4a00359c21dd6bc48b0df0.jpeg

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To my understanding the warning criteria above is incorrect. I know for up here in NWFL (KMOB), an Excessive Heat Warning is issued when heat index is expected to exceed 113F. Last time this happened was a couple of years ago for me. Now for south Florida, NWS Miami is testing new heat alert criteria this summer, which is why some counties down there have seen their first ever Excessive Heat Warning. Im not familiar with that criteria though. The criteria can be different depending on the NWS office you are covered by.

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Palms - 4 S. romanzoffiana, 2 W. bifurcata, 4 W. robusta, 2 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 2 S. palmetto, 1 A. merillii, 3 P. sylvestris, 1 BxJ, 1 BxJxBxS, 2 BxS, 2 L. chinensis, 1 C. nucifera, 1 P. roebelenii, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 H. verschaffeltii, 1 T. fortunei, 1 C. humilis, 1 C. cataractarum, 1 S. repens

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It’s crazy how hyper-local the wet season rains can be here.   Weather calling for zero inches / sprinkles….  And instead, it’s a good soak out there, with the gutters gushing.    You could be 10 minutes  away and dry as a bone.  Last year, was the exact opposite.   Looks like the next few days will be dry though.  
 

EFB6A63A-412B-40E7-8A25-47DC662EBC56.thumb.jpeg.9c6c3f816819ee1b10f3576843ddf5b9.jpeg

It’s was clear, sunny, and pass-out hot during the day, so I did get my chance to trim and mow, but it was brutal out there in that sun.  

Night shots…

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EBC40786-59F9-41BB-A7FF-F61772A16157.thumb.jpeg.eb86d87f04623be36766f5d539cc44ba.jpeg
 

34FD2FA2-26DD-4825-B06D-1FFBC711455A.thumb.jpeg.8227a5e066a55b475040a6d4ccd9434e.jpeg

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Today was the first cloudy and somewhat wet day here.  Still less than an inch but im happy with it.  Hopefully it keeps up.

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On 7/22/2023 at 11:03 PM, JLM said:

To my understanding the warning criteria above is incorrect. I know for up here in NWFL (KMOB), an Excessive Heat Warning is issued when heat index is expected to exceed 113F. Last time this happened was a couple of years ago for me. Now for south Florida, NWS Miami is testing new heat alert criteria this summer, which is why some counties down there have seen their first ever Excessive Heat Warning. Im not familiar with that criteria though. The criteria can be different depending on the NWS office you are covered by.

Interesting.  Did a little digging after reading your comment and found what you were saying here: https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat-ww

Figured the UF numbers would be good, but glad for the heads-up!

For those covered by the Tampa WFO, some interesting info on each of the tabs here: https://www.weather.gov/tbw/heat

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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Well it kept up today! In rather dramatic fashion of course.  Three large downpours and clouds and breezes all day.  Like a whole other world than before, hopefully a start to better weather for the whole coast especially the worse areas further south. Tempest station says 1.78 inches today.

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5 hours ago, flplantguy said:

Well it kept up today! In rather dramatic fashion of course.  Three large downpours and clouds and breezes all day.  Like a whole other world than before, hopefully a start to better weather for the whole coast especially the worse areas further south. Tempest station says 1.78 inches today.

Great!  A nice deep soak is a lifesaver during the dry spells.  I view irrigation as life support to get you through, but nothing can compare to a good rain getting down deep.  

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