Thursday, April 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Above-normal rainy season raises bay area water levels

We are relieved when hurricane season passes without damaging Florida.

But tropical storms bring rains that keep our lakes and rivers healthy, even eliminating the need for dreaded water restrictions. This year, we win two ways.

Tropical storms have avoided the Tampa Bay area, but an exceptionally high summer rainfall, measuring 5 feet in some areas, has replenished groundwater levels and may sustain Florida through the dry season.

It is particularly good luck this year, since the regional water reservoir remains under construction through next July and drinking water resources could have been more strained without a wet rainy season, according to officials at Tampa Bay Water, the area's water manager.

"For all those people who say we don't have afternoon thunderstorms anymore, look back at the end of the rainy season because it was every day," said Mike Clay, chief meteorologist at Bay News 9.

Rainfall for Tampa reached 40.77 inches during this year's rainy season, June 1-Sept. 30. Average rainfall is 27.82 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Last year, Tampa's rainfall for the same period was 41.7 inches, but that number was significantly boosted by four days of pounding rain from Tropical Storm Debbie.

This year's totals were a result of a more consistent rainfall, said weather service meteorologist Daniel Noah.

A persistent southeast flow pushed showers in from the Atlantic in the morning. Eventually they collided with sea breezes off the Gulf of Mexico, bringing afternoon rains, Noah said.

"And then that happened day after day after day," Noah said.

Stream and lake levels are markedly higher than in the spring, said Steven DeSmith, a geologist with the Southwest Florida Water Management District. "Just about everything has improved," DeSmith said.

Florida relies on rainy season accumulation for everything from drinking water, much of which is drawn from natural aquifers, to the flow of rivers and streams.

Aquifer levels this week are within a normal range, and within inches of where they were at this time last year, according to Swiftmud officials.

During the dry season, which begins in October and runs through May, Florida frequently runs the risk of sliding back into a pattern of drought.

That's why Swiftmud recommends year-round water conservation measures, and, if the dry season is severe, cities and counties add more stringent conditions.

Most communities in west-central Florida are under some sort of water restrictions.

Pasco County, where watering is restricted to once a week, has retained some form of restriction for more than a decade, said county environmental biologist Jeff Harris.

Claire Wiseman can be reached at (727)-893-8804 or [email protected] On Twitter: @clairelwiseman.

Comments
Forecast: Clear skies for Tampa Bay lead to a hot, humid and rainy weekend

Forecast: Clear skies for Tampa Bay lead to a hot, humid and rainy weekend

Expect warm weather, clear skies and a slight increase in humidity across Tampa Bay in the next few days, before an incoming cold front raises the chance for rain.Temperatures this morning are in the low 60s with a little bit of damp air. The dry air...
Published: 04/19/18
Forecast: Warm weather continues for Tampa Bay, but humidity and clouds are returning

Forecast: Warm weather continues for Tampa Bay, but humidity and clouds are returning

The temporary cool weather has come to an end as temperatures rise back up to the lower 80s by Wednesday afternoon. Morning commuters can expect temperatures in the upper 50s throughout most of Tampa Bay, according to the National Weather Service. Bu...
Published: 04/18/18
Dreaded ‘cone of uncertainty’ will shrink for the coming hurricane season

Dreaded ‘cone of uncertainty’ will shrink for the coming hurricane season

The National Hurricane Center plans to shrink the dreaded "cone of uncertainty" during the upcoming season based on an improving forecast record.The Miami-based center made the announcement Monday, along with a series of other changes intended to imp...
Published: 04/17/18
Forecast: Clear skies, abundant sunshine ahead for Tampa Bay

Forecast: Clear skies, abundant sunshine ahead for Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay will be warming up today and by the afternoon clear skies and sunshine promise ideal conditions without an abundance of humidity.But Tuesday morning started a little chilly with temperatures in upper 50s before sunrise. By afternoon, temper...
Published: 04/17/18
Forecast: Cool and windy, a day after tornado touches down in St. Petersburg

Forecast: Cool and windy, a day after tornado touches down in St. Petersburg

TAMPA — Now that Sunday’s powerful front — which actually spawned a tornado and several reported waterspouts — has moved out of Tampa Bay, the start of the work week brings sunny skies, but much cooler temperatures.This comes a day after the front ge...
Published: 04/16/18
Forecast: Tornado watch expanded to all counties in Tampa Bay

Forecast: Tornado watch expanded to all counties in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — A tornado watch is in effect in every county surrounding Tampa Bay, and the region can expect thunderstorms and strong winds Sunday, which could make water activities dangerous.With a high of 83 degrees, the morning should be cloudy ...
Published: 04/15/18
Forecast: Warm, pleasant weekend for Tampa Bay before severe storms arrive Sunday

Forecast: Warm, pleasant weekend for Tampa Bay before severe storms arrive Sunday

The Tampa Bay area’s recent run of abundant sunshine and clear skies will extend into the weekend, but it will come to a screeching halt when severe weather sweeps in on Sunday morning.The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm war...
Published: 04/13/18
Hurricane names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate being retired

Hurricane names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate being retired

MIAMI — The names of four deadly hurricanes that slammed parts of the United States, Central America and the Caribbean last year are being retired.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday that hurricane names Harvey, Irm...
Published: 04/12/18
Forecast: Pleasant sunshine into weekend for Tampa Bay, but Sunday thunderstorms ahead

Forecast: Pleasant sunshine into weekend for Tampa Bay, but Sunday thunderstorms ahead

Today should be a little warmer and a bit drier than Wednesday as Tampa Bay continues to enjoy a mostly sunny end of the week.After a few intense thunderstorms on Tuesday left little humidity around the bay area, Thursday should see a perfectly dry, ...
Published: 04/12/18
Forecast: Tuesday rain yields to slightly cloudy, breezy day for Tampa Bay

Forecast: Tuesday rain yields to slightly cloudy, breezy day for Tampa Bay

The rain that has drenched Tampa Bay since Tuesday afternoon should disperse a few hours after sunrise. Areas across the I-4 corridor will see small scattered showers and some heavy muggy weather early Wednesday morning but all of that will dry up by...
Published: 04/11/18