TAMPA (WFLA) – Blue skies and sun returned to much of the Bay Area on Monday but many areas are still dealing with flooded rivers and standing water in ditches and on roads.
The ground along Florida’s west coast is saturated, to say the least. Many areas have seen well over twice what they would normally receive just in the past seven days.
Coastal cities have seen the most rain, especially along the Nature Coast where storms trained over the same areas for days at a time.
Seven day observed totals equal between 10 and 15 inches along coastal Hernando and Citrus with a small pocket of up to 20 inches in Levy County. Coastal Pasco, Hillsborough and Manatee along with most of Pinellas County have seen up to 10 inches with small pockets of up to 15 inches.
The stagnant, soggy pattern was to blame with a constant onshore wind from the Gulf of Mexico. That is what meteorologists in Florida call the “reverse summer pattern“. The wind flows over the warm gulf waters and transports evaporated moisture over land, making the air humid but also providing fuel for rain; lots and lots of rain.
A stalled front draped over the Florida panhandle and a developing low pressure along it aided in squeezing out extra rain from the atmosphere late last week. This extra rainfall put many over the edge due to how much rain fell in such a short amount of time.
The past seven days weren’t the only wet days. In fact, every month since December Tampa has recorded above average rain totals. The pattern has shifted back to normal, for now.
While showers and storms are still in the forecast each day, they’ll arrive mostly in the afternoon and not be as long-lived compared to recent weeks. Sunshine should help to dry standing water up over the next week.
Saturated soils would make for a bad situation if a tropical disturbance or cyclone moved over the state. Luckily, no tropical activity is forecast to develop over the next five days.