CoCoRaHS HeaderFlorida Newsletter / November 2011 
In This Issue
'Fall Back' into the Holidays
Heavy Rain Double Take
September Rains
September CoCoRaHS Totals
Current State of the Drought
Odds and Ends
Quick Facts

1,188 Registered FL Observers  


479 Active FL Observers

11,978 FL Reports Submitted during 10/11


 Greatest # of Daily Reports Submitted during October: 414 on 10/8/11


Most Rainfall Reported during October: 13.00" on 10/9/11 from Station FL-OB-2

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'Fall Back' into the Holidays

Last year, I forgot to 'Fall Back', but this year I didn't forget! As I was putting together this month's newsletter, it was hard to believe that it's November and that most of 2011 is behind us. The holidays are upon us... and I have less than two months to do my holiday shopping! This year again, the holidays will take me across the U.S, and I'll be leaving my rain gauge behind to guard my office. Since it hasn't rained in a while, I'm making sure to review how to make a multi-day report, in the hopes that I'll have something (other than dead bugs) in my gauge when I return.


Heavy Rain Double Take

The totals out of south Florida for October are amazing and staggering. There were quite a few observations that were flagged as suspect because of the extraordinary rainfall amounts. Out of the 479 stations that reported this month, 37 stations had a monthly rainfall total of over 10 inches! Ten of those stations reported more rainfall than Fort Collins, CO, has in a year (16.10 inches).
# of Observations

In investigating the flagged values, I contacted one of the observers in the Keys to verify their total. Robert and Gretel got back to me promptly and included a picture of the flooding they had around their house due to the heavy rains. Through an exchange of emails, we realized that the picture they sent happened to look somewhat familiar to one they provided around this time last year, when Tropical Storm Nicole lashed the Keys. Take a look for yourself!
Flooding photo 1
Taken from FL-MN-8 on September 29th, 2010, after Tropical Storm Nicole.

Flooding photo 2.
Taken from FL-MN-8 on October 19th, 2011, during heavy rain event.
We all hope this isn't the start of a trend!

October Rains

Rainfall totals varied greatly across the state during October (Table 2). In the north, the monthly total at Pensacola (0.24 inches) was five inches below normal, making October 2011 the 8th driest October on record at the station. In contrast, two separate heavy rain events along the southern part of the state, helped ease drought conditions and broke many records. The monthly total (17.14 inches) at Key West makes it the 2nd wettest October on record, only behind October 1969 (21.57 inches). Orlando (8.87 inches) and Miami (15.52 inches) saw their 3rd and 5th, respectively, wettest Octobers on record. Vero Beach had a daily record rainfall of 8.30 inches on the 8th, which was over double the previous record set in 1983 (Table 2). And Apalachicola reported a daily rainfall total of 7.49 on the 18th that was over four times greater than the previous record for that date of 1.73 in 1989. Areal patterns of monthly rainfall relative to normal are depicted in Figure 1.

Table 1: October precipitation totals and departures from normal (inches) for selected cities.
Precipitation Totals 
Table 2. Daily rainfall records (inches) tied or broken during October. (Compiled from NOAA, NWS.)
Rainfall records 

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

rainfall graphic

October CoCoRaHS Totals

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


Current State of the Drought

Drought conditions continue to persist in northern portions of the state, with extreme drought conditions present around Leon and Gadsden Counties and the Choctawhatchee River basin. Areas around Ocala and Gainesville and along the East Coast saw improvements to the long-term dry conditions and a reduction in drought designations. Heavy rains in the second half of October eased some of the dry conditions that had been lingering around Lake Okeechobee. The average lake level is 13.55 ft, which is down from the historic average of 15.03 ft but a significant change from the 11.13 ft that was reported a month ago.


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  


Thanks to your efforts in taking that extra minute as you enter your report, we did not have any stations that reported an error during October. There were a few high totals that were questioned, but they were all confirmed to be associated with localized thunderstorms and the widespread heavy rain events that took place in south Florida during the month. If you receive an email from me with the subject line 'Question About Your Recent CoCoRaHS Observation', please take a moment to answer me back. And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


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 "Find us on Facebook" link in the menu bar of this email, then click the "like" button on our Facebook page.

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

[email protected]