Over 1.4 million Floridians are in a drought
Measurable rain expected Monday and Tuesday
Above normal rain also possible next 14 days
Farmers in the Florida Panhandle might be dancing in the streets soon. Finally, a soaking rain has arrived. It started Sunday evening near Pensacola.
— Jeff Huffman (@HuffmanHeadsUp) December 5, 2016
As of December 1, more than 1.4 million Floridians were in a drought, and according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 7.4 percent of the state was in an "extreme drought". Several cities in the Florida Panhandle, such as in Pensacola, had a "top three" driest fall (September - November) on record. Some locations even had a measurable rain-free streak of more than 40 days.
Winds began to shift this weekend, and some real relief may be on the way. Rather than a west or northwest flow, the steering winds are now out of the southwest, steering deeper moisture in from the Gulf of Mexico. Multiple storm systems are expected to tap into some of this moisture and deliver it in the form of rain over the next two weeks. Above normal precipitation (for this time of year) is forecast through December 18 by the Climate Prediction Center.
The first system arrived Sunday in the far western sections of the panhandle. A second, stronger storm system will arrive late Monday and Tuesday, dousing most of the state with at least a few showers. The heaviest rain is expected to fall where it's needed the most, mainly in North Florida and the Florida Panhandle.
At least two more fronts are also likely to produce some wet weather in the next 10 days, but it's too early to determine how much rain or who might see the heaviest.
Despite a somewhat soggy short term forecast, long term relief from the drought may not occur in the next three months. The Climate Prediction Center says most of Florida will likely experience below normal precipitation for the three-month period of December to February. This is consistent with what typically happens during a La Nina winter in Florida, which according to NOAA, is likely to persist through the period.