Florida has been punctuated by excessive rainfall in some places and deficits in others so far in 2013. The Panhandle has been waterlogged since late spring thanks to a tropical storm system and a series of stationary fronts that parked themselves across the area. Southwest Florida has suffered through persistent, slow moving and/or training thunderstorm events that delivered knockout rainfall punches. North Fort Myers, Naples and many other nearby locales have seen some locally torrential downpours. Earlier this month, at my home in north Naples, I logged 9.45 inches of precipitation in three hours.
As a result, and with several more weeks of rainy season / hurricane season remaining, daily, monthly and now maybe even seasonal, rainfall records may be set in some places.
Already some places in southwest Florida have reported more than 20 inches above yearly average rainfall through Sept. 18, 2013 (Fig. 1). COCORAHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Snow & Hail) Network stations across the southwest Florida area have reported widespread 50 to 70 inch rainfall totals through Sept. 19, 2013. Here are just a few:
Buckingham 1.7 SE (Lee County) -- 70.97 inches (9th highest in FL)
North Naples 4.8 NNE (Collier County -- 64.63 inches
Naples Park 3.7 ENE (Collier County) -- 62.30 inches
Fort Myers 0.8 N (Lee County) -- 62.23 inches
Northport 4.7 NNE (Sarasota County) -- 61.04 inches
For comparative purposes, the wettest COCORAHS station in the state so far in 2013 was Aberdeen (in Palm Beach County) with 85.42 inches of precipitation. Panama City Beach (Bay County) in the panhandle reported 73.29 inches (second wettest).
Local TV news reports have showcased our flooding. Compared to the flash floods that crippled parts of Colorado last week, our urban flooding and ponding of water has been much tamer. However, the flooding has damaged homes, businesses and cars; forest and agricultural areas have been impacted and, based on my observations, the mosquito population is starting to boom.
We can’t stop or change the rainfall. In fact, based on current computer and man-made forecasts for the next week, more locally heavy downpours are on tap.
However, residents would be well served by ensuring their home gutters and drains are free of debris and by cleaning away debris from storm drains on their street. The other day, roadways near downtown Naples were under water. Several of the storm drains in the area were partially blocked by leaves and small tree branches.
© 2013 H. Michael Mogil