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In This Issue
Quick Facts
2011 Hurricane Season
0.00" is the Loneliest Number
WFSU Environmental Minute
Status of Quality Control Efforts
May Rains
May CoCoRaHS Totals
Current State of the Drought
Check Us Out on Facebook
Souvenir from Colorado
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 5/11 (404 reports)

Highest reported daily rainfall from FL CoCoRaHS observers during 5/11 (FL-AL-31 on 5/15/11)

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NewsletterJune 2011
2011 Hurricane Season

Welcome to the 2011 Hurricane Season! According to the FSU COAPS Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast, we will likely see above-normal tropical cyclone activity this year. The mean forecast is for 17 names storms, including 9 hurricanes. Now is the time to prepare. For those of us who lived through or remember the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, we know what can happen if we aren't prepared. So please, take a couple of minutes and visit the following websites created by The Florida Division of Emergency Management. Based on your individual needs and responses, a checklist and additional information will be provided to help you prepare.

Create a Hurricane Plan for:

Your Family: 

Your Business: 

You can find the contact information for your County Emergency Management Office here: 

In the event of a land-falling tropical system, you can remove the funnel and inner tube of your rain gauge so that they do not become flying hazards during the storm.  If you are worried your rain gauge could be damaged or lost should a hurricane threaten your area, please feel free to bring it indoors. Your safety is our number one concern so please take heed when officials issue evacuations for your area.  Rain gauges can be replaced but you cannot. 
0.00" is the Loneliest Number

As I was going through the numbers for the Quick Facts, I was really impressed with the number of observers who were dedicated enough to enter in 0.00" every morning.  There were only seven days in May when the number of reporting observers dropped below 350, and three of those days were around Memorial Day weekend. However, only 298 observers had reported on the 31st, and I'm concerned this may become a trend as the drought persists and worsens. 


I'm going to put on my broken record for a moment: 0.00" is a valid value.  It's important to know where and when it hasn't rained.  Knowing where a drought may be easing or worsening is vital as water management districts start issuing more water restrictions. 


Please feel free to fill out the Drought Impact Report form that's available when you log into your CoCoRaHS account. Thank you to those observers who have been submitting these reports.  We are using them as we compile information to report to the National Drought Monitor about the drought in Florida.
WFSU Environmental Minute

WFSU logo

Last month, WFSU started running a new radio program called "Environmental Minute." The program is sponsored by The Florida Climate Institute, The Florida State University College of Arts and Sciences, and the FSU Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science. During each "minute," an expert from FSU answers a question relating to environmental issues. The segment airs on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:04am on 88.9 WFSU-FM. You can listen online at and on the Environmental Minute Facebook page.  


The archived segment from the week of May 29 answers the question: "What does a forecast of 20% chance of rain mean?"  
Status of Quality Control Efforts

We continue to work toward providing the best data possible with our CoCoRaHS observations. Out of almost 11,500 Florida reports, only two observations were flagged in the month of May. Thank you for taking the extra time to ensure that your reports are correct before submitting them.


If you receive an email from me with the subject line "Question About Your Recent CoCoRaHS Observation," please take a moment to respond.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

May Rains

Rainfall totals for May were below normal across most of the state in May (Table 1). Monthly totals at Tallahassee (0.59 in) and Miami (2.15 in) were more than four and three inches below normal, respectively. A daily rainfall of 1.68 inches at Sarasota on the 6th broke the previous daily record of 1.24 inches recorded in 1944. This was the only daily record set in May. Areas in the extreme northwest and the extreme southeast parts of the state were the most below normal during May (Figure 1). Some areas in the southwest were above normal.

Table 1: May precipitation totals and departures from normal (inches) for selected cities.
Table 1
Figure 1: A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for May is given in the figure below (courtesy of NOAA, NWS).
Figure 1
May CoCoRaHS Totals

Here are the CoCoRaHS rainfall totals for May from some select CoCoRaHS stations across the state.

Rainfall map 

Current State of the Drought

For the first time since August 2007, D4 drought has been declared in Florida.  A D4 drought classification is given when there is exceptional and widespread crop/pasture loss, and shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells, creating water emergencies. The D4 was introduced in southeastern Palm Beach County and eastern Broward County. On June 1, Lake Okeechobee's water level stood at 10.09 feet; the normal is 13.13 feet. A regional water shortage issued by the South Florida Water Management District is still in effect, and other districts across the state are issuing restrictions.  Please take time to review the water restrictions in your area as we continue to deal with widespread drought.


The National Drought Monitor is updated weekly, so you can always check the most recent conditions here: National Drought Monitor.

FL Drought Monitor Map 

Check Us Out on Facebook!

You can now "like" Florida CoCoRaHS on Facebook! By joining our Facebook page, the latest Florida CoCoRaHS news items will automatically show up in your "news feed" when you first login to Facebook. To join, click the link below, then click the "like" button on our Facebook page.


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Souvenir from ColoradoNolan photo

I was lucky enough to spend the last week of May in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado, while attending a CoCoRaHS planning meeting.  While there, I traded in my flip-flops and shorts for shoes, jeans, and a hooded sweatshirt.  One day during lunch, I stood outside and let the sleet bounce off of me.  And of course, I came home with some souvenirs, one of which I'd like to share with all of you.  Here's an autographed picture of Nolan with Angel.  If you've read any of Nolan's emails, you'll know that Angel is featured often in his stories.   


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"