CoCoRaHS HeaderFlorida Newsletter / August 2011 
In This Issue
To 10,000 ft and Back Again
New Report: Sea Level Changes in the Southeastern United States
Status of Quality Control Efforts
July Rains
July CoCoRaHS Totals
Current State of the Drought
Odds and Ends
Quick Facts

1096 Registered FL Observers  


482 Active FL Observers

11,946 FL Reports Submitted during 7/11


 Greatest # of Daily Reports Submitted during July: 412 on 7/8/11


Most Rainfall Reported during July: 8.58" Rainfall  on 7/17/11 from Station FL-OK-3

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To 10,000 ft and Back Again

ColoradoIn mid-July, I packed my bag and boarded a plane (elevation: 55 ft.), not to return to my house for two weeks. (Yes, I lived out of one suitcase for two weeks!) My first stop was Steamboat Springs, CO, where I had to break out a jacket during the evenings. While there, I had the opportunity to go to the Storm Peak Laboratory (elevation: 10,574 ft.) and learn about the instruments used to examine cloud physics, atmospheric chemistry, and of course... the weather. The highlight was actually getting to see snow-yes, snow in July! I got to experience the Front Range monsoonal rains and had a good laugh when I heard how humid it was from a good friend of mine. 


Asheville After saying goodbye to the Rocky Mountains, I got back on a plane and headed to Asheville, NC (elevation: 2,134 ft.), where heat and humidity greeted me the moment I got off the plane. In Asheville, I took part in two conferences and was able to reconnect with local, regional, and state CoCoRaHS coordinators from across the United States.


It was a long, enjoyable two weeks, but I'm happy to be back in Florida-and happy my rain gauge didn't overflow while I was gone!

New Report: Sea Level Changes in the Southeastern United States

The Florida Climate Institute (FCI) commissioned Professor Gary T. Mitchum of the University of South Florida to prepare this report on sea level in the Southeast. Dr. Mitchum is a world-class expert in sea level. The funds to support his efforts were obtained from the Southeast Climate Consortium. This report should be used as a basic explanation of the existence and physics of sea level variations. To download the report, click the link below:


Sea Level Changes in the Southeastern United States: Past, Present and Future (PDF) 


Status of Quality Control Efforts

For the second month in a row, no observations from Florida were flagged as potential suspect reports. Thank you for taking that extra minute as you enter your report. The extra effort has really paid off! If you receive an email from me with the subject line 'Question about Your Recent CoCoRaHS Observation,' please take a moment to respond. And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

July Rains

Rainfall totals varied relative to normal across the state during July. The monthly total at Tallahassee (4.28 in) was more than three and three-quarters inches below normal. In contrast, the monthly total at Orlando (10.62 in) was almost three and one half inches above normal (Table 1). Also, the monthly total at Pensacola (9.58 in) broke the record of 8.76 inches recorded in 2004. Several long-standing daily rainfall records were broken. The daily total at Vero Beach (4.09 in) on the 1st broke a record in existence since 1944 (Table 2). On the 7th, the daily total at Melbourne (2.80 in) broke a record in existence since 1957. Daily totals of 5.80 inches at Apalachicola and 3.13 inches at Ft. Myers on the 17th broke records in existence since 1964 and 1920, respectively. The daily total at Orlando (1.88 in) on the 22nd broke a record in existence since 1931. The impact of localized convective storms is evident in the departures from normal monthly rainfall for July (Figure 1). Well-above-normal rainfall occurred in the northwest and southwest, as well as other isolated locations. Well-below-normal rainfall fell in northern, south-central, and eastern coastal areas.
Table 1: July precipitation totals and departures from normal (inches) for selected cities.
Precipitation Totals 
Table 2. Daily rainfall records (inches) tied or broken during July. (Compiled from NOAA, NWS.)
Rainfall records 

Figure 1: A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for July (courtesy of NOAA, NWS)

rainfall graphic

July CoCoRaHS Totals

Here are the CoCoRaHS rainfall totals for July from some select CoCoRaHS stations across the state.
Rainfall totalls


Current State of the Drought

It's amazing what a little rain can do in a month's time! Drought conditions have improved across the entire state since the last newsletter in early July. The exceptional drought that was impacting most of the northwest Florida Panhandle and areas east of Lake Okeechobee has eased, and now only severe-to-extreme conditions are being reported. The water levels of Lake Okeechobee have risen to 10.26 ft, but this level is still well below the threshold used to declare water shortage management. There are still water restrictions in place across the state as we are still dealing with the long-term impacts of the drought. Areas in central Florida and along the southwest coast saw a vast improvement over the last few weeks. Overall, the percentage of the state that is no longer in drought since July 7th has almost doubled. Hopefully, the summer rains continue to alleviate the ongoing drought conditions.


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


Drought Monitor


Odds and Ends

Each week, an expert from FSU is answering a question related to environmental issues that impact Florida as part of WFSU's new "Environmental Minute" radio program. Archives are posted at  


The CoCoRaHS State Climate Series is wrapping up, with only the Northeast left. These are great informative pieces that have been put together by a climatologist in each state, highlighting and summarizing the climate of their state. Make sure to check out the archive for more information about some of your favorite states.


I'd like to thank those of you who answered my call for local coordinators and have offered to take on the duties in your local area. I'm still recruiting local coordinators across the state. If you're interested in helping out, please feel free to send me an email. Even if there's already a coordinator in your county, please ask about helping them out as well.


If you've gotten to this point, you'll notice that the layout for the newsletter has changed up a bit. I'm trying something out and would like feedback on what you like or dislike about the new layout.

Thank You! 
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.


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