No significant relief from the Florida drought is in sight as rainfall will largely bypass the Sunshine State into the middle of the month.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor released on March 28, over 90 percent of the state is enduring abnormally dry to severe drought conditions.
The worst of the drought is centered from just south of Jacksonville to Gainesville, Melbourne and Fort Myers. Occasional soaking showers off the Atlantic has largely spared the southeastern corner of the state, including Miami, from the drought.
“Rainfall deficits over the past two months in parts of Florida are now approaching 6 inches,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda said.
Storms this week will lift from the southern Plains to the Great Lakes with the bulk of the heavy rain and thunderstorms following along this path.
Florida will get scraped by the tail end of wet weather first on Monday and Monday night and then again on Wednesday into Thursday.
“The heaviest and most widespread rain and thunderstorms will be confined to the Florida Panhandle,” Sojda said.
The soaking thunderstorms will tend to fizzle and become more localized as they cross central and southern portions of the state.
“While any rainfall will help quell the very dry surface soil, the rainfall amounts expected will barely dent the ongoing drought in many areas of the Florida Peninsula,” Sojda said.
Beyond the storm around midweek, a long period of dry weather will settle over the state into at least the middle of April.
Prolonged dryness well through the spring could have an impact on local agriculture, including citrus and vegetable crops.
“Citrus trees are blooming now with apparently little or no adverse impact due to the dryness,” AccuWeather Senior Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler said. “However, if the dry weather continues through the summer, fruit size will be smaller but, in general, the fruit will be sweeter.”
Mohler went on to say that vegetable crops will need to be properly irrigated in order to make up for the lack of rainfall.
“Given that there were no significant frost threats in the Florida Peninsula this past winter and hence no water needed to sprinkle on crops to insulate them, there should be a little more water available for irrigation this spring,” Mohler said.
“As long as these summer rains arrive on time and fall consistently, the citrus crop should be okay and conditions of the vegetable crops should improve,” he added.