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5/18/2010 - South Florida Rainy Season Officially Here

If you drove home through Monday evening’s blinding rainstorms, then this is something you already know, or at least surmise: the rainy season is here.

The afternoon thunderstorms of the past two days have signaled the beginning of the season, which forecasters say began Sunday, about four days earlier than the historical start date of May 20.

The long-range outlook is for near normal rainfall totals of 33 to 44 inches between now and the historical end of the season in mid-October, with coastal areas generally getting less rain than the interior.

The five-to-six month rainy season accounts for two thirds to three fourths of the year’s rainfall.

“The pattern of showers and thunderstorms which develop over the southern Florida peninsula during the afternoon and evening hours will be a near-daily occurrence throughout the summer and early fall, not to mention the constant mugginess that is a hallmark of this time of year in South Florida,” Robert Molleda, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Miami office, wrote in an advisory issued this morning (PDF).

Wind flows determine what kind of frog-stranglers we get, Molleda wrote.

“During westerly wind patterns common in May and June, eastern sections of South Florida see most of the afternoon and evening storms. In July, the prevailing wind usually shifts to an easterly direction, pushing most of the showers and thunderstorms to the interior and Gulf coast sections of South Florida. During August and September, tropical systems can influence the overall rainfall pattern across the region, with a greater potential for widespread rains over a large part of South Florida.”

The he rainy season is also the severe weather season, with a chance of severe and prolific lightning assaults, as well as hail, flooding, gusty winds and even tornadoes. The greatest chance of twisters is in May, June and July.

Source Palm Beach Post 5/18/2010

Peter Schulz - Editor - Email TCR

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