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Compared to most years, Tampa Bay experienced a soggy 2019

With a few days to go in 2019, it stands to be the 16th wettest year since the 1890s, according to the National Weather Service.

TAMPA — If you found yourself looking for an umbrella more frequently in 2019, you weren’t imagining things.

With more than 10 extra inches of rain on average across the region this year, the Tampa Bay area had a wet 2019. Based on the 60.37 inches of rainfallThe National Weather Service measured 62.56 inches of rainfall this year at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, 53.46 inches at Albert Whitted Airport, 67.33 inches in Tarpon Springs, 58.88 inches in Brooksville and 65.41 inches in Plant City.

with a few days left, it was the 16th wettest year since the 1890s, according to the National Weather Service.

Players wait on the sidelines as steady rain and a sunset produces a double rainbow in the sky as the Tampa Bay Tech Titans take on the Plant City Raiders at home on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Tampa. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]

The National Weather Service measured 62.56 inches of rainfall this year at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, 53.46 inches at Albert Whitted Airport, 67.33 inches in Tarpon Springs, 58.88 inches in Brooksville and 65.41 inches in Plant City.

“We’ve seen a pretty wet year,” meteorologist Austin Flannery said.

The wettest year on record for the area, according to Flannery, was 1959, which saw a drenching 76.5 inches of rain.

A rain cloud passes as fisherman Billy Tedder, of Gibsonton, net casts in the waters just off of the Tarpon Springs causeway Monday, Aug. 5, 2019 in Tarpon Springs. [CHRIS URSO | Times]

What causes some years to experience more rainfall than others is difficult to predict, Flannery said. Most years average between 40-50 inches.

“That’s pretty tricky,” he said. “But there’s a few climate indicators we can look at.”

The National Weather Service measured 62.56 inches of rainfall this year at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, 53.46 inches at Albert Whitted Airport, 67.33 inches in Tarpon Springs, 58.88 inches in Brooksville and 65.41 inches in Plant City.

Torrential rain during an August evening flooded several streets around St. Petersburg. The intersection of Ninth Street N and 62nd Avenue N, shown here, was turned into a lake. Police had to block the road. [AMY HOLLYFIELD | Times]

Susan Goebel-Canning with Pinellas County Stormwater Management said the county regularly monitors over 400 “hot spots” across the county, such as Booker Creek, to check for flooding and drainage issues.

"We’ve certainly seen a lot of rainfall this year,” she said.

Andy Squires, with Pinellas County’s environmental management department, said this year produced an uptick in algae blooms, which thrive under high heat and precipitation.

Curt Williams, assistant director of government affairs for the Florida Farm Bureau, said the extra rainfall during 2019 has been a mixed blessing for strawberry growers in the area.

“The rainfall has reduced their demand for irrigation quite significantly,” Williams said. “With moisture and Florida’s humidity, they’ve also seen an increase in disease.”

He said while it has been a notable struggle that will likely have some financial impact on growers, it would likely not be catastrophic.

Water from heavy rain in August floods a driveway on Snell Isle Boulevard NE in St. Petersburg. [ALLIE GOULDING | Times]

“I think the main thing, for agriculture it’s so hard because there are so many unknowns,” Williams said. "The producers have to be their own meteorologists at times. "

The Farm Bureau’s Cacee Hilliard said most other parts of the state saw an average year, though parts of South Florida and the Panhandle were slightly drier than normal.

“Thank goodness we didn’t have any major storm that devastated like Hurricane Michael,” Hilliard said. “That’s always a blessing.”

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