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Light rain doesn't dent Tampa Bay area's drought

Rain clouds hang low in the sky over Lake Thonotosassa in northeastern Hillsborough County, bringing hope but little water.

SKIP O\u2019ROURKE | Times

Rain clouds hang low in the sky over Lake Thonotosassa in northeastern Hillsborough County, bringing hope but little water.

If you didn't get to feel the raindrops on Monday, you probably missed your chance. Forecasters say rain will be gone today and won't be back again anytime soon.

Most of the rain fell in Hills­borough County. At Tampa International Airport, 0.39 inches were recorded by late afternoon — most of it falling between 10 and 11 a.m., said National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Barron.

Pinellas County saw 0.03 inches of rain. Just a trace of rain fell in Brooksville.

Any rain is good when you have a drought. But Monday's rain fell in scattered pockets. Today, warming temperatures will continue the drying trend.

"It's definitely a good thing," Barron said of the rain. "But it's just going to dry out again."

Officials at the Southwest Florida Water Management District agreed it was not enough, given the current drought.

"Any rainfall is helpful, but unfortunately, this is only a drop in the bucket," said spokeswoman Robyn Felix. "For the last three years, we have had more than a 30-inch rainfall deficit, so unfortunately, the small amount of rain we received today is going to be very little.

"We need above-average rain fall for a very extended amount of time during our summer rainy season," Felix added.

Monday's rain arrived as a southern high-pressure system to the north pushed moisture in from the Atlantic.

With the rain, area winds also picked up. On land, wind gusts blew at 10 to 15 mph, while on the water, the wind was 15 to 20 mph, Barron said.

It was windy enough to knock down several electrical poles in Largo, St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach. The outages affected about 6,000 households.

Suzanne Grant, a spokeswoman for the utility, said it is fairly typical to have outages when it rains following a dry spell because accumulated pollen and other natural debris wreak havoc on electrical wires when it finally rains.

Light rain doesn't dent Tampa Bay area's drought 03/23/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 12:25am]
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