CoCoRaHS HeaderFlorida Newsletter / January 2012 
In This Issue
Happy New Year!
December Rains
December CoCoRaHS Totals
Current State of the Drought
Odds and Ends
Quick Facts

1,194 Registered FL Observers  


458 Active FL Observers

11,578 FL Reports Submitted during 12/11


 Greatest # of Daily Reports Submitted during December: 399 on 12/12/11


Most Rainfall Reported during December: 7.20" on 12/13/11 from Station FL-FL-9

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Happy New Year!

I'd like to welcome you all to 2012 and send you warm wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!


I spent New Year's Eve out playing a round of golf (the kind that doesn't require a caddy and where there are windmills on the greens) with my family in beautiful 70˚ Florida weather... Only to break out my heavy jacket and turn on the heat four nights later when it hit 18˚F. "I thought this was Florida," my dad said while visiting over the holiday.


Since North Florida is affected by cold fronts far more than the peninsula, and the arrival of these fronts is irregular, the daily maximum and minimum temperatures in the north fluctuate far more from their averages than elsewhere in the state. Unlike peninsular Florida, which is normally dry during the winter, North Florida has an appreciable number of wet winter days. During a winter month, five to six cold fronts typically reach North Florida. Most of these cold fronts pass into the peninsula but weaken rapidly as they progress southward. Cold, dry air usually arrives after the passage of these fronts; while the sun shines during cloudless days, the temperatures can drop quickly during the night. However, the entire state is vulnerable to the passage of extremely strong cold fronts. These Arctic Air Outbreaks can bring freezing temperatures to even the central and southern parts of the state.


During some winters, El Niņo Southern Oscillation (ENSO) helps dominate the overall winter weather pattern. El Niņo episodes bring cooler than normal temperatures and increases in the average precipitation during the winter months. La Niņa winters are typically warmer and drier than normal.


December Rains

Rainfall totals varied across the state during December (Table 1). Portions of the Panhandle had above normal rainfall, while most locations in the Peninsula recorded below normal precipitation. The month was the 5th driest on record at Tampa, while it was the 5th wettest on record at Pensacola. Most of the rainfall for the month reported at Pensacola came from two separate events, which broke daily rainfall records on the 20th and 26th (Table 2). The below normal rainfall for the month across most the state led the U.S. Drought Monitor to designate dry conditions in the Peninsula. Areal patterns of monthly rainfall relative to normal are depicted in Figure 1.

Table 1: December precipitation totals and departures from normal (inches) for selected cities.
Precipitation Totals 
Table 2: Daily rainfall records (inches) broken during December (compiled from NOAA, NWS).
Precipitation Totals 

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

rainfall graphic

December CoCoRaHS Totals

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


Current State of the Drought

Since the November 29 release of the National Drought Monitor, there have been some large changes to the status of the drought in Florida. The area of extreme drought that lingered in parts of the Panhandle eased after some areas received above normal rainfall during December. However, portions of the Peninsula had drier than normal conditions during December. At the end of November, only about 37% of the state was under any type of drought designation. That number has now increased to just over 91%. Continued La Niņa conditions through the winter will mean decreased precipitation, and water restrictions remain in place in South Florida (the water level of Lake Okeechobee is now 13.55 ft). Restrictions in other areas could go into effect.


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


Drought Monitor


Odds and Ends

The quality control efforts continued to prove helpful as we had a few reports in Florida that required some additional information. Most of the reports were flagged because of high values, and all but one turned out to be correct. I appreciate how understanding the contacted observers were, along with how quick they were to reply to my email. 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]