CoCoRaHS
F L O R I D A
A Community Collaborative
Rain, Hail & Snow Network

 Newsletter                                               August 2016                                              
July is over: record warmth, varied rainfall amounts and some drought, and a new observer push
Summer continues to push on, and July has ended.  There were no tropical storms or hurricanes in Florida (or anywhere in the Atlantic Basin, for that matter) in July, but one headline was the relentless warmth -- more than would be expected from a typical July even in Florida.  Official figures will be available next week from the National Centers for Environmental Information, the nation's clearinghouse for historical climate data and information, but preliminary analyses from the Florida Climate Center indicate that the July just finished was the warmest one on record in the state of Florida, with a statewide monthly mean temperature in the neighborhood of 84.2 degrees, beating out the 83.6 degrees observed in July 1998.   Not only was it the warmest July on record, but it was also the warmest month overall on record, eclipsing the 83.7 degrees recorded in August 2007 and August 2011.  Statewide records extend back to 1895.  Rainfall was varied, tilting toward the dry side, across the state.  Combining with the above-normal temperatures, drought was beginning to develop in some areas by the middle and end of the month.  More details on both July rainfall and current drought conditions are given later in the newsletter. 

Currently, we're making a big push to recruit additional observers across the state, especially in rural areas, where there doesn't tend to be as many observers.  As it turns out, you, our existing observers, can be of big help in this effort.  Maybe you have a friend or neighbor who's interested in the weather.  Perhaps you know a senior citizen who's looking for an easy activity to enhance his or her routine.  Maybe your business could benefit from knowledge of local rainfall.  School starts this month, and CoCoRaHS rainfall observing is an excellent hands-on activity to engage students in a weather-and-climate unit.  No matter what the motivation, please send them our way!  Your efforts will help make the network even better.

As always, all the best, and happy observing!

Danny Brouillette
dbrouillette@coaps.fsu.edu, 850-644-0719
Ivetta Abramyan
ivetta.abramyan@fscj.edu

We want to hear from you -- send us your photos!
Have a dazzling weather photo that you want to share? Maybe your rain gauge is set up in a neat spot, and you have a photo of it.  Do you have an interesting anecdote or story?  Feel free to send any of that to one of us!  In future monthly newsletters, we will feature observer photos.

Welcome, new observers ...   
In July, 14 new observers joined on in Florida in the following counties: Escambia (2 observers), Flagler (1), Franklin (3), Jefferson (1), Lee (1), Leon (2), Putnam (1), Santa Rosa (1), Sumter (1), and Taylor (1).  The following new stations were added, in order: LN-61, FR-3, FR-4, LN-62, FR-5, JF-10, LE-51, ST-27, PT-21, FL-23, ES-30, ES-31, TY-4, and SR-19. 

Here's to observers who report every day ...
Nothing beats a complete rainfall record at a station.  Whether that complete record has mostly zeroes (report those zeroes!) or a large number of heavy amounts, people who use it  can know exactly what happened at that station and when.  Of course, reporting every day requires consistent effort and diligence, and we can't thank enough those observers who do so.  To show you the importance and value of regular observing, following is a list of the stations that had 31 observations (every day) in July. 
AL-18  BV-51   DV-33 HB-10    LE-6 MD-40   OR-23   PN-9   PT-8    VL-5
AL-26  BV-52   DV-42  HB-17  LE-22  MD-51  OR-26  PN-16  PT-15  VL-9
AL-48  BV-54   ES-4  HB-26  LE-47  MN-7  OR-27  PN-17  SL-17  VL-21
AL-51  BW-7   ES-15  HB-27  LN-31  MN-25  OS-22  PN-33  SL-33  VL-29
BK-3  BW-76   ES-24  HB-29  LN-47  NS-14  PB-7  PN-34  SR-4  VL-32
BK-5  CH-13   ES-26  HB-40  LN-59  OK-1  PB-12  PN-41  SS-5  VL-35
BK-6  CH-23   FR-2  HB-48  LV-10  OK-2  PB-69  PN-51  SS-10  VL-36
BK-7  CT-7   GD-4  HB-55  MA-6  OK-15  PB-77  PN-59  SS-15  VL-38
BY-11  CT-11   GL-7  HB-98  MR-4  OK-16  PB-79  PN-60  SS-22  VL-44
BF-2  CY-1   HY-3  HB-112  MR-12  OK-20  PS-4  PK-7  SS-34  WK-1
BV-1  CY-19   HN-1  HB-114  MR-13  OK-23  PS-6  PK-18  SS-40  WT-6
BV-5  CY-25   HN-9  IR-26  MR-18  OK-29  PS-10  PK-32  ST-8  WT-13
BV-6  CY-37   HN-14  JF-9  MT-7  OK-33  PS-23  PK-37  ST-9  WS-1  
BV-13  CY-38   HL-1  LK-21  MD-22  OB-5  PS-43  PK-38  ST-12  
BV-23  DV-3   HL-13  LK-24  MD-33  OR-1  PN-1  PT-1  ST-13  
BV-47  DV-32   HB-5  LK-25  MD-36  OR-19  PN-6  PT-7  VL-1  
As you can see, observers at 157 stations across the station submitted an observation every day.  In addition, 55 other observers submitted 30 reports in July, and 31 others submitted 29 reports.   Keep up the good work!   
Observer Comment Corner
 
Observer comments are encouraged!  Comments provide valuable context to observations, which can be very helpful to those who later use the observations.  If nothing else, comments are interesting for us and other observers to read.

Following are some of the more intriguing comments from last month.  There were no major widespread weather events this month, but many observers commented on a spectacular storm at their location.  Many others commented on the sporadic nature of rainfall and the onset of drought conditions.    
 
7 July, Daytona Beach Shores 1.8SSE, Volusia County (FL-VL-42):  "An isolated early evening thunderstorm developed inland then drifted east across the coast, dumping a little over 1/2" in 15 minutes. After a relatively dry June, measured over 4" in the first week of July."

11 July, Lake Worth 1.0NNW, Palm Beach County (FL-PB-13):  "Heard thunder early this morning around 3:40 AM.Haven't heard that in some time. Actually picked up a small amount of rain.It's been very hot and dry. I hope things turn around soon. This is the wet season, right?" 

12 July, Biscayne Park 0.3E, Miami-Dade County (FL-MD-33):  "Had to deduct 0.01 in. for a bee floating in the tube. It finally rained a little and the poor thing just wanted a drink."

18 July, Stuart 6.9SSW, Martin County (FL-MT-17):  "First rain since july 3rd. nice shower with thunder."

28 July, Ormond Beach 3.5SE, Volusia County (FL-VL-5):  "No rain. Severe local drought: grass brown/dormant, bushes and trees stressed, some dying. Except for potted plants garden is kaput for the season." 
 
28 July, Orange Park 4.1WSW, Clay County (FL-CY-25):  "Hazy morning. Hot yesterday. Plant leaves are wilting for lack of rain." 

Quick Facts About July Observations

Registered Observers: 
1,804
Active Observers: 
520
Reports Submitted: 
11,890
Date of Most Reports: 
417 on the 1st
Highest Daily Rain Report:  
4.49" on the 1st (Longwood 2.3WNW, Seminole County, FL-SM-5)
Highest Monthly Total:
17.01" (Buckingham 1.7SE, Lee County, FL-LE-6)
Lowest Monthly Total:
1.08" (Vero Beach 3.5SSW, Indian River County, FL-IR-27)
Number of Observer Comments: 1,205
July Rains and CoCoRaHS Totals
Rainfall in July showed considerable spatial variability across Florida, with some very dry areas and a handful of areas that were relatively wet, but conditions overall were on the dry side.  No tropical systems directly affected the state, so rainfall was mainly driven by daily sea breezes and, in northern areas, the occasional shortwave trough.  Among the major National Weather Service recording sites (table below), Tallahassee had modestly above-normal rainfall, Pensacola and Tampa finished near normal, and the remaining sites finished considerably below normal.  The contour maps below show that the driest areas were the eastern coast and the north-central and northeast part of the peninsula and the wettest areas were the inland southwest part of the peninsula and some locales in the panhandle.  

 
Below are rainfall totals and their departure from 30-year normals for July 2016 for select locations across Florida.  Data were compiled from the National Weather Service.  
Location
Total Rainfall (inches)
Departure from Normal (inches)/Percent of Normal
Pensacola 6.75
-0.50 / 93
Tallahassee 7.93
+0.76 / 111
Jacksonville 2.14
-4.41 / 33
Orlando 3.99
 -3.28 / 55
Tampa 6.34
-0.73  / 90
Miami 4.11
-2.39 / 63
Key West 3.74 +0.19 / 105


Below is a contour map of total July rainfall based entirely on your CoCoRaHS observations.  Map is courtesy of a utility in the Midwestern Regional Climate Center's cli-MATE browser.  
 
 

Below is a contour map of total July rainfall relative to 1981-2010 normal values (as a percentage) based entirely on your CoCoRaHS observations.  Map is courtesy of a utility in the Midwestern Regional Climate Center's cli-MATE browser.
 
     
 




Current state of drought  

As of the end of July, the U.S. Drought Monitor showed that abnormally dry (D0) conditions were present in the north-central and northeast part of the peninsula and along the eastern coast.  These conditions have resulted from below-normal rainfall and above-normal temperatures in the last four to six weeks.  Comments from observers in these areas, as well as farmers, indicate that lawns, gardens, and crops are showing considerable stress.  Longer-term forecasts from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center call for continued above-normal temperatures statewide and continued below-normal rainfall in the next week followed by near-normal rainfall in the eight- to 14-day period. 

  

  

 
Odds and Ends

If you know someone who is interested in becoming a CoCoRaHS observer, please have him or her contact one of us.  We will be happy to help them join the corps of observers!  

 

Be sure to check out the monthly Wx Talk Webinars offered by CoCoRaHS.  Each month features a different weather-related topic and gives a chance for you to interact with the speaker.  If you are unable to attend or have missed some of the previous months' talks, you can find them archived on the CoCoRaHS YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com/cocorahs/  

 

Also, be sure to like Florida CoCoRaHS on Facebook!  Observers can now post comments and pictures to the wall.