When does Florida’s rainy season start? Not soon enough

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — We’ve gone since May 6 without measurable rainfall at the Tampa National Weather Service site.

Tampa is now running 2 to 3 inches below the normal rainfall amounts we have typically accumulated by this time of the year. While we aren’t seeing true drought conditions, we are seeing elevated fire danger levels.

Luckily, rainy season is just around the corner, and we need the rain that is headed our way.

We typically see two-thirds of our annual rainfall happen during our rainy season, which runs from late May through early October.

According to the National Weather Service of Tampa, rainy season on some years begins abruptly, while other years rainy season develops over time. From mid to late May is usually when rainy season begins.

This year, our rainy season is off to a late start, thanks to persistent high pressure and dry air over the southeast.

During rainy season, we see a peak thunderstorm season, usually July 1 through mid-September. Several factors must develop for peak thunderstorm season, including the Bermuda high pressure to develop, offshore seas surface temperatures must be above 82°, moisture is high levels over us must be present and dewpoints here at the surface must be in the low 70s or above.

A typical rainy season has three phases:

  1. Late May through early July can be the stormiest portion of the season, with threats from severe weather including damaging wind gusts, waterspouts, tornadoes, lightning, hail and flooding.
  2. Early July through early September is slightly less stormy but is still hot, humid and wet.
  3. Mid-September through early October’s rainfall amounts are ruled by potential tropical systems and early fall cold fronts. These rainfall totals vary wildly from year to year as a result.

So far, long term forecast models show the moisture and humidity to return to our forecast over the Memorial Day Weekend. That, in combination with the sea breeze developing, will lead to scattered chances for afternoon showers – possibly the hint of rainy season getting off to a slow start.

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