Monday, 07 May 2007 01:00
Drought ConditionsWritten by WGCU Newsroom
The national drought mitigation center has classified more than 90 percent of the state as being in some severity level of drought.
The Lake Okeechobee area is in extreme drought with West Florida in moderate drought conditions. Florida State Meteorologist Ben Nelson says records back to 1895 show this is the second driest April through March stretch.
“We know historically some of the worst droughts in our state’s history – the 1930’s, the 1950’s and even the 1970’s – all of those multi- year droughts coincided with very strong la nina conditions in that equatorial Pacific. So we’re not in a La Nina right now but some of the computer forecasts do indicate that we might slip into La Nina later this summer.”
La Nina’s cooler than average waters bring drier conditions. El Nino usually brings wetter conditions. The last El Nino Florida experienced didn’t stick around long enough to bring down enough rain. Nelson reminds folks though that it’s going to take much more than the summer rains to get out of this drought.
More than 90 percent of the state is experiencing drought – with the worst conditions in South and Southwest Florida – especially Lake Okeechobee – which is at its second lowest level ever says Florida State Meteorologist Ben Nelson.
“The lake level being this low, all of that sediment and muck that was pushed into the lake during the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes is being cleaned up right now by the water management district and they tell me that once our rainfall patterns come back, whether that be next year or the year after the lake will be much healthier than it’s been before. Another symptom of drought is wildfires and we’re going to have a rough couple of months here in May and June.”
The summer rains will be lightening which will spark more wildfires.
Governor Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency as 15 wildfires covering 1,400 acres ignited Wednesday night. 95 wildfires are active in Florida and they have consumed 11,000 acres so far this spring.