Soaking storms to ease drought across Florida into next week

With over 70 percent of the state suffering at least moderate drought conditions, the upcoming wet weekend will be welcome by many.

The warm and humid climate of Florida usually allows for frequent showers and storms, but they haven’t been materializing in full force this season.

“Despite having near-normal rainfall in May, Orlando is still running a major rainfall deficit on the year,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.

“So far, Orlando has had only 45 percent of their normal rainfall from Jan. 1 through June 2.”

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The lack of frequent, heavy rainfall has left the soil and foliage parched under the increasingly high sun.

As a result, brush fires have sparked and prospered in parts of Florida and Georgia over the past few months, sometimes prompting evacuations.

Luckily, soaking storms are on the horizon.

“Locally heavy rainfall - partially enhanced by leftover tropical moisture from what was once Beatriz - can lead to downpours across the Interstate-4 corridor from this weekend and even into the middle of next week,” Pydynowski said.

A widespread 1 to 3 inches of rainfall is expected, with locally higher amounts possible.

As was observed in California this past winter, several stormy periods in succession are necessary to completely eradicate drought.

“This opportunity for heavier rainfall over the next few days will not erase the deficit - which is about 8 inches in Orlando - but it can certainly help cut into it,” Pydynowski said.

The heaviest storms could result in localized areas of urban flooding, and residents should be careful to not attempt to traverse flooded roadways.

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Otherwise, the rainfall will mainly bother beachgoers and start to chip away at the extreme drought conditions over central Florida.

Areas that are drought-free can also anticipate increased rainfall, including Pensacola, Panama City and Miami.

The area of tropical moisture enabling the wet weather is expected to stick around into the middle of next week before a cold front ushers drier air into the state.