Oct 26, 2011

Wet season misnomer?

Technically speaking, the wet season is over.

Pond apple start
the dry season
floating high.

But in terms of rainfall on the horizon and sheetflow on the ground ...

We still have a lot of wet months to go.


You see ...

Wet season is a meteorological – not a landscape – term.

October rain totals could be boosted
by frontal and tropical rains
due this weekend.

By official meteorological standards, i.e., dew point consistently dropping below 70° F, the wet season was pronounced over by the National Weather Service in Miami on October 19th. (Read official bulletin.) That temperature is the tipping point below which regular afternoon thunderstorms no longer regularly appear. It was a shorter than normal wet season: It lasted only 133 days, compared to the normal 153, but that was because it got off to an unusually late start on June 9 …

Plus, it had to lift itself out of a deep and prolonged spring drought.



On the other end of the spectrum,

Just because the wet season is over doesn’t mean our flood-season boosting rains are done.


October rainfall is hit or miss:
This year has been a hit!

An active tropics and healthy clip of continental fronts have conspired to boost October rain totals to the equivalent of a core wet season month …

Plus, the weekend forecast is calling an exclamation point at the end.

This pond apple forests will stay
flooded well into winter.
The result?

Pond apples will be floating into the dry season for weeks to come!


BTW: Dry season is a meteorological term, too.

2 comments:

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Here's a follow-up email I received from a regional meteorologist:


"Here's how I explain the oft confusing beginning and ending of wet season topic to the south Florida media.

Our hydrologic wet season (June-October) is a combination of 3 overlapping sub-seasons:

1)Daily seabreeze season runs from about mid-May to early October... and it ended a little early this year.

2) Peak tropical season (including the 2 events this month) runs from about late August through late October. October is probably our most critical rainfall month of the year. October taxes our flood control system when it rains heavily, and exacerbates subsequent water shortages when it is dry...like last year.

3) Hurricane season runs the longest and always strays into the early part of the dry season. This distinction usually manifests itself only when we get hit with a November storm...like TS Gordon in 1994 and TS Mitch in 1998."

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Here's a follow-up email from a fellow hydrologist:

"lets see if the predictions hold with the low p in the g! but with geoff putting "this system is not a threat to the District" out there i'm guessing it looks pretty good that the dry season is upon us and probability of future wet season type events is low.


stay cool my friend if you must go into the swamp remember to have an extra pair of dry shoes and treat for yourself once you safely emerge.

be well!"