Monday, October 23, 2017

Here comes more rain — tropical low brings wet weekend


No…not now!

People in Southwest Florida are groaning while they stare at the weather radar once again, as it appears yet another tropical system is set to dump rain on the area over the weekend.

It’s been a brutal few weeks in the area, with parts of the area still trying to wring themselves dry from standing water that came from Hurricane Irma. Irma followed on the heels of a tropical low which sat over Southwest Florida and dumped about a foot of rain in a five-day span in August, flooding many streets and neighborhoods itself.

The good news is this tropical low, which isn’t expected to generate into anything more, shouldn’t be as bad as those last two, says Chuck Caracozza, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“The main concern with this one is periods of heavy rainfall, it’s not developed into any kind of tropical system but it is bringing a lot of tropical moisture to the region,” Caracozza said.

Forecasts are calling for 1-2 inches of rain, but isolated areas could see heavier downpours than that.

2017 has been a very wet year in Southwest Florida. Data from the South Florida Water Management District says that the Southwest Coast region, which covers all of Lee and most of the populated segments of Collier County has seen 71.2 inches of rain so far this year, 23 inches over the average.

In fact, the area has seen at least a foot of rainfall every month since June, which saw nearly 20 inches of rain – more than double the average monthly total.

The district as a whole, the southern part of the state up to the Kissimmee River basin, which feeds into Lake Okeechobee, has seen on average 9.2 inches more than normal rainfall this year.

Caracozza said that they are monitoring areas which have seen heavy saturation from recent rainfalls, and that some flood advisories are possible for the weekend. A flood watch is currently in place for Lee County.

Collier County Road Maintenance warns that flooding is very likely thanks to much of the downed trees and vegetation from Irma which has yet to be picked up. Debris can block storm drains, causing water to back up over roads. The county says that while they are working to ensure that drainage areas are clear, they don’t expect it to make much of a difference.

Southwest Coast Region(SFWMD)

January: 1.49(0.5 below average)
February: 1.20(-0.76)
March: 0.69(-1.89)
April: 1.68(-0.75)
May: 4.29(0.64 above average)
June: 19.60(+9.90)
July: 12.15(+3.32)
August: 14.35(+5.24)
September(to date): 15.76(+7.94)
Annual to date: 71.21(+23.13)

2016 Total Rainfall: 61.79 inches
Average Total Rainfall since 2001: 56.07 inches

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