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In This Issue
Quick Facts
Spring Is On Its Way!
January Rains
January CoCoRaHS Totals
Current State of the Drought
Quick Facts
# of registered FL

# of active FL observers

# of reports submitted by FL observers during

Date with the greatest # of FL reports submitted
during 1/11 (437 reports)

Highest reported daily
rainfall from FL
CoCoRaHS observers
during 1/11 (FL-HB-48
on 1/18/11)

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NewsletterFebruary 2011
Spring Is On Its Way!

On February 2nd, the world's most famous weather forecasting groundhog made his prediction about the upcoming spring. Would we see an early spring or would we be subjected to six more weeks of winter? Well, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow and has forecasted an early spring, something he has only done 16 times since 1886. This made people in the Midwest extremely happy to hear (even though he's only about 40% accurate with his predictions). The last time Phil predicted an early spring was back in 2007.


If you are interested in predictions of temperature and precipitation over the next two weeks or out to three months, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has a variety of maps that you can view to see what are the forecasted trends.  The maps are available on their homepage at:

January Rains
Rainfall totals for January were below normal in the northwest, above normal in central areas, and near to below normal in the south (Table 1). Monthly totals were well above normal at Tampa (6.28 in) and Orlando (5.92 in). Along the southeast coast, West Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale were below normal. An areal perspective is given by Figure 1.  There were at least 13 daily rainfall records set during January (Table 2). A daily rainfall of 1.91 inches at Key West on the 17th broke a record in existence since 1922. On the 25th rainfall of 1.96 inches at Gainesville and 1.50 inches at Fort Myers broke records in existence since 1924 and 1907, respectively. Orlando set three daily records during a nine-day period (17th - 25th).


Table 1
Table 1: January precipitation totals and departures from normal (inches) for selected cities.
Figure 1
Figure 1: A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for January is given in the figure below (courtesy of NOAA, NWS).
Table 2
Table 2: Daily rainfall records (inches) tied or broken during January. (Compiled from NOAA, NWS).
January CoCoRaHS Totals

Here are the rainfall totals for January from some select CoCoRaHS stations across the state.Note that the color scale has changed from the previous month's map.


Current State of the Drought
The rain in January did help ease some of the drought concerns across the state.  The below normal rainfall in the Panhandle meant that there was no real relief from the drought conditions, and only a few portions of the Big Bend saw any retreat of drought.  The near normal rainfall in south Florida meant there were very little changes from the drought conditions reported last month.  However, the rainfall in the Northeastern and Central part of the state helped reduce the span of the extreme drought.  The extreme drought conditions are still around in Brevard, Indian River and St Lucie counties, and also in about 7 counties in northeast Florida, including the cities of Gainesville, Ocala, and St. Augustine.  The National Drought Monitor is updated weekly, so you can always check the most recent conditions here: National Drought Monitor.

FL Drought Monitor


Towards the end of January, I packed my bags and headed out to the wonderful state of Washington to attend the American Meteorological Society's Annual Meeting in Seattle.  It was amusing that when I left Florida, it was freezing and when I got to the Pacific Northwest, I actually had to shed my winter coat when I deplaned. While there, I had the pleasure of participating in the 10th Annual WeatherFest event. The CoCoRaHS team had a booth at the event. Both Nolan and Henry were there, along with other CoCoRaHS state and regional coordinators. It was hard to figure out who had more fun: us or the kids!





You can see more pictures from the AMS Weatherfest here: 


For those who weren't able to make it to Seattle for WeatherFest, the National Weather Service in Jacksonville is holding one on February 26th.  From 10am to 5pm, come by the Student Union Center on the campus of the University of North Florida and meet various NWS employees and media personalities from the area.  There'll be interactive displays, spotter talks, poster presentations, panel discussions and so much more.  I'll be there representing CoCoRaHS and giving people a chance to see how much rain they can wring out of a cloud (or if you want to be literal, water out of a sponge) in 10 seconds! 


You can find all the information you need about the event at this webpage:

Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm! If at any time you have questions about CoCoRaHS, reading your rain gauge, or finding a location to setup your rain gauge, please feel to contact a Florida CoCoRaHS Coordinator. We are lucky enough to have regional support from National Weather Service offices across the state, as well as county/local help from several CoCoRaHS volunteers.

Take care,

Griffin Photo
Melissa Griffin
Florida CoCoRaHS State Coordinator
Assistant State Climatologist

Florida Climate Center/Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies
Florida State University 
232 R.M. Johnson Building 
Tallahassee, FL 32306-2840

850) 644-0719
[email protected]

"Because every drop counts"