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St. Petersburg rainfall above average while Tampa lags behind

Debbie Prichard runs in the rain around Northwest Park in St. Petersburg Thursday. She runs 3 miles several times a week.

LARA CERRI | Times

Debbie Prichard runs in the rain around Northwest Park in St. Petersburg Thursday. She runs 3 miles several times a week.

ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa and St. Petersburg are having very different rainy seasons.

In statistically the wettest month of the year, St. Petersburg is amid a wetter-than-average August while Tampa is having a month more like an average March.

St. Petersburg has soaked up 8.88 inches of rain in August — 0.62 inches above normal, according to measurements at Albert Whitted Airport.

Tampa has absorbed just 3.28 inches, 3.05 inches below average, according to rain gauges at Tampa International Airport.

"It's a weird coincidence because many of these storms have just missed TIA," said Mike Clay, chief meteorologist for Bay News 9. "Some areas of Tampa have gotten lots of rain, but it's almost comical that the rain has consistently missed TIA."

There's no particular reason for the difference.

"It's just the setup of the showers and thunderstorm activity," said National Weather Service meteorologist John McMichael. "Sometimes it just concentrates over one area because of where the actual sea breeze boundaries set up and focus, and in this case it's over St. Petersburg. It's nothing unusual."

But it's important, with the area having entered this rainy season at a 30-inch rainfall deficit for the past 36 months, according to the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

With the exception of a wet May, rainfall has been sporadic at best for most of Tampa Bay this spring and summer. Still, conditions have improved in certain areas.

The deficit in the Hillsborough River has been reduced to 20.2 inches and to 18.4 inches in the Alafia from July 2006 to July 2009, according to Tampa Bay Water, which provides drinking water to Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties and New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

The improvement, said senior manager Alison Adams, is largely because of the 19 inches of rain the Alafia alone received in May — 7.5 inches more than normal.

St. Petersburg rainfall above average while Tampa lags behind 08/27/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 27, 2009 9:57pm]
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