A Community Collaborative
Rain, Hail & Snow Network

 Newsletter                                       September 2016                                              
August: More Heat, More Rain than July, and a Tropical Cyclone at the Very End
August ended last week and so did climatological summer, which is defined as the period between 1 June and 31 August.  For the most part, August picked up where July left off.  August  finished off a much warmer-than-normal summer in Florida (sixth-warmest August and third-warmest summer on record since 1895) that, in some parts of the state, paired with limited rainfall, led to drought concerns.  Abnormally dry conditions were present in the far north-central part of the state, but those conditions were largely quelled by heavy rains from a persistent low-pressure feature in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the second week of the month.  In Florida, that feature dropped its heaviest rains over coastal Taylor and Dixie Counties (where Doppler radar estimates that up to 15 inches of rain fell in isolated locations) and, to a lesser extent, farther west across the Panhandle.  That feature would later meander westward to bring the heavy rains that precipitated (no pun intended) the devastating flooding in Louisiana.  Another area of drought concern was along much of the eastern coast of the state.  Indeed, the main airports at both Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, both long-term climate stations, registered their driest summers on record.  However, very recently, just as August was ending and September was beginning, the entity that became Hurricane Hermine brought rains first to southeast Florida and the Keys and, later, the western coast. 
GOES visible-satellite imagery of Hermine at around 7:15 PM EDT on 1 September.  Photo courtesy of NWS Tallahassee.

Eventually, Hermine made landfall just as the second day of September was starting in Wakulla County, ending the longest streak in the observational record without a hurricane landfall in Florida:  the last Florida hurricane landfall was that of Wilma in 2005.  It was also the first hurricane to landfall on the coastline of the Apalachee Bay since Alma in 1966.  Rains after landfall were heaviest in the Big Bend and eastern Panhandle but also brought drought relief to the eastern coast.

In both the big rainfall events of August (and very beginning of September) -- the no-name low-pressure feature and Hermine --  it was great to see how the high density of observations that CoCoRaHS provides helped define the large spatial variability in rainfall from these events.  In a different way, the events also highlighted where more observers are needed -- for example, if you know someone in the Big Bend region (e.g., Taylor, Dixie, Gilchrist Counties) who would be interested in becoming an observer, encourage them to do it!  What was really great, though, was seeing the dedication of observers even in a time of adversity.  In Leon and Wakulla Counties, hit hardest by damage and power failures from Hermine, many observers made a big effort to get observations in.  Such dedication is impressive, and we can't thank you enough! 

Happy observing...

Danny Brouillette, 850-644-0719
Ivetta Abramyan

We want to hear from you -- send us your photos!
Have a dazzling weather photo that you want to share? Maybe your rain gauge is set up in a neat spot, and you have a photo of it.  Do you have an interesting anecdote or story?  Feel free to send any of that to one of us!  In future monthly newsletters, we will feature observer photos.

Welcome, new observers ...   
In August, 16 new observers joined on in Escambia (5 observers), Flagler (2), Franklin (1), Lake (1), Osceola (1), Palm Beach (1), Pinellas (2), Seminole (1), Taylor (1), and Volusia (1) counties.  Their station numbers are ES-30, ES-31, ES-32, ES-33, ES-34, FL-24, FL-25, FR-6, LK-26, OS-23, PB-80, PN-63, PN-64, SM-21, TY-5, and VL-45.  

Multi-Day Rainfall Reports: A Refresher
Travel or other circumstances may occasionally cause you to miss an observation.  And, that's fine!  However, it's important that you pay special attention to how you report rainfall that has accumulated in your gauge over multiple days.  The 'ordinary' Daily Precipitation Report implies that the rainfall total observed and reported fell over the 24-hour/one-day period before the time of the observation.  Therefore, if the rainfall total reflects rain that fell over a period longer than one day, a Multi-Day Precipitation Report must instead be submitted.  This report form can be accessed by clicking on 'My Data' at the top of the home page, which leads to another page and then 'Multi-Day Accumulation' under the 'Enter My New Reports' menu on the left-hand side on the new page.  It looks like this:

If you find you have questions, feel free to ask your local or regional coordinator!  
Observer Comment Corner
Observer comments are encouraged!  Comments provide valuable context to observations, which can be very helpful to those who later use the observations.  If nothing else, comments are interesting for us and other observers to read.

Following are some of the more intriguing comments from last month (and the first and second days of September to allow for comments about Hermine).  

1 August, Crystal River 5.3NNE, Citrus County (FL-CT-7):  "Scary and spectacular thunder and lightning ahead of and after the rainfall. Reminded me of one of the old Karloff 'Frankenstein' movies. Hours after the rain ended there were huge flashes of cloud to cloud lightning which lit the western horizon hours after the main storm had passed. "

12 August, Aberdeen 4.2NNW, Palm Beach County (FL-PB-12):  "I replaced the old rain gauge yesterday,after 9 yrs 10 months of excellent service. The Florida weather and other elements (bird droppings) took it's toll on it, the outside of the cylinder and the funnel of the old gauge became much too discolored to see through and rough to the touch, although it still worked just fine, it had become impossible to clean. If the Mrs. hadn't insisted on a new one the old would still be in service, a small price to pay to gain her interest and assistance on those days when I am unable to check the gauge."

19 August, Ponce Inlet 0.5S, Volusia County (FL-VL-32):  "Another dry day (only 0.98 inches to date this month) in the midst of a 'wet season' that continues anything but ..."    
1 September, Dunedin 3.0SE, Pinellas County (FL-PN-51):  "Heavy rains in advance of Tropical Storm (Hurricane?) Hermine. This is my heaviest one day rainfall total in the past 2 years."

1 September, St. Petersburg 5.0NW, Pinellas County (FL-PN-4): "Standing water in yard, flooding around area."  (The reported 24-hour rainfall total was 10.01".) 

2 September, Monticello 4.3ENE, Jefferson County (FL-JF-9):  "Sorry for late entry. Hurricane Hermine had other ideas. Power out 11:45 Thur night and back on Sun 10a. Not as bad a storm as I have experienced living in S Fl for 30 yrs. I didn't have to hide in my closet! Lots of trees and branches down - could have been a lot worse."

2 September, Tallahassee 5.2E, Leon County (FL-LN-47):  "Hurricane Hermine made landfall overnight near St Marks but this station was never in the eye. Spent several hours in the eye wall. Power out but minimal damage apparent in neighborhood."

2 September, Live Oak 0.4 NE, Suwannee County (FL-SW-1):  "The rain did not start until late afternoon. Once it started, it did not stop. The rain was a nice, steady, soaking in rain for several hours. It did not start getting heavy until about 9 p.m. Once the heavy rain began there was no stopping it. The wind tried to pick up but did not until 3 a.m. which was when we lost power. Power flickered for a few minutes before it was lost. Power went out by 3:15 a.m. and was not re-established until 7:30 a.m. this morning. We could hear big tree branches snapping off and landing but did not know where they went. High wind gusts are still coming through but not as strong. Power keeps flickering. Saw 2 flashes of lightning , one to the South of town about 4:15 a.m. and one to the North of town about 5 a.m. It sounded in some of the downpours that there might have been some hail or sleet but none was observed. The wind tore the covering off a window, then blew a mirror off the wall. It was very hard to get the cover back on the window. High winds continued until about 7 a.m. this morning. There are still short gusts of wind the day after the landfall. We are getting the worst part of the storm the day after landfall. "  

Quick Facts About August Observations

Registered Observers: 
Active Observers: 
Reports Submitted: 
Date of Most Reports: 
443 on the 10th
Highest Daily Rain Report:  
5.11" on the 9th (Englewood 3.7NNW, Sarasota County, FL-SS-44)
Highest Monthly Total:
19.13" (Englewood 5.4ESE, Charlotte County, FL-CH-18)
Lowest Monthly Total:
1.71" (St. Augustine 3.4NW, St. Johns County, FL-SJ-23)
Number of Observer Comments: 1,359
August Rains and CoCoRaHS Totals
Rainfall in August was greater than in July, as a rule, ranking 36th wettest on record statewide since 1895, but still showed considerable spatial variability characteristic of the late-summer period.  In addition to the usual sea-breeze-driven thunderstorms, a persistent area of low pressure in the northern Gulf of Mexico brought heavy rains to parts of the Panhandle and Big Bend in the second week of the month.  Rains from moisture (and even the outer bands in the Keys) associated with the tropical cyclone that became Hurricane Hermine fell over the southeast coast, the Keys, and the western coast before August ended.  Much of the eastern coast above the middle of the peninsula was very dry in August as in the first two months of summer.  Accordingly, the official recording sites at Daytona Beach and Jacksonville registered their driest summers on record. 

Note that the data below do not include rainfall for 1 and 2 September, meaning that they exclude much of the rainfall from Hermine in some locales.   

Below are rainfall totals and their departure from 30-year normals for August 2016 for select locations across Florida.  Data were compiled from the National Weather Service.  
Total Rainfall (inches)
Departure from Normal (inches)/Percent of Normal
Pensacola 12.04
+5.28 / 178
Tallahassee 7.60
+0.25 / 103
Jacksonville 2.65
-4.15 / 39
Orlando 9.90
 +2.77 / 139
Tampa 12.71
+4.94  / 164
Miami 13.77
+4.89 / 155
Key West 8.81
+3.43 / 164

Below is a contour map of total August rainfall based entirely on your CoCoRaHS observations.  Map is courtesy of a utility in the Midwestern Regional Climate Center's cli-MATE browser.  

Below is a contour map of total August rainfall relative to 1981-2010 normal values (as a percentage) based entirely on your CoCoRaHS observations.  Map is courtesy of a utility in the Midwestern Regional Climate Center's cli-MATE browser.

Current state of drought  

As of the start of September, after a temporary expansion along the eastern coast and in an area of the far northern part of the peninsula centered on Madison County, abnormal dryness is on the downswing across the state for the moment.  Impacts to agricultural activities during August were mostly limited. although there were reports of citrus groves needing to be irrigated and standing water in fields in parts of the Panhandle that had received excessive rainfall.  Latest long-term forecasts from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center call for above-normal temperatures and near- to above-normal rainfall in the Sunshine State for the balance of September.   




Odds and Ends

If you know someone who is interested in becoming a CoCoRaHS observer, please have him or her contact one of us.  We will be happy to help them join the corps of observers!  


Be sure to check out the monthly Wx Talk Webinars offered by CoCoRaHS.  Each month features a different weather-related topic and gives a chance for you to interact with the speaker.  If you are unable to attend or have missed some of the previous months' talks, you can find them archived on the CoCoRaHS YouTube site:  


Also, be sure to like Florida CoCoRaHS on Facebook!  Observers can now post comments and pictures to the wall.