Typically the driest month of the year, November confounded expectations this year, with rainfall reaching 3.53 inches across the region, representing more than 50 percent above average.
The accumulations were attributed to two cold fronts that swept across the region on Nov. 20 and 25-29 respectively. For that matter, the highest totals fell in Jefferson and Madison counties, where the rainfall had been much below normal since June.
Or so reports the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) in its latest hydrologic conditions report, released on Friday, Dec. 5.
The average rainfall for the 12 months ending Nov. 30 was 61.56 inches, nearly seven inches higher than the historical 12-month average of 54.63 inches.
“Twelve-month departures improved in the upper Aucilla and Santa Fe basins, with only isolated areas seeing up to a 10-inch deficit,” the report states.
Meanwhile, the average rainfall for the three months ending Nov. 30 was 2.8 inches above the long-term average of 10.8 inches, according to the report.
Madison County received 5.16 inches, compared with the November average of 3.12 inches, which is 165 percent of normal for the month. Madison County received 57.30 inches during the last 12 months, or 102 percent of the annual normal.
Jefferson County, for its part, received 5.71 inches, compared with the November average of 3.44 inches, which is 166 percent of normal for the month. The county received 53.03 inches of rainfall during the last 12 months, or 92 percent of the annual normal.
River levels generally stayed in a range considered normal for the time of year. Lake levels, meanwhile, ended the month lower than October, with Sneads Smokehouse remaining near its record low level.
And groundwater levels continued to fall during the month, even in areas of higher rainfall, according to the report.
“Overall, by the end of November levels fell to the 69th percentile from the 75th percentile in October based on records beginning no earlier than the 1970s,” the report states. “Eighty percent of the wells had levels above median, while 40 percent were above the 75th percentile, considered high.”
The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) three-month outlook shows a potential for above-average precipitation through February.
“The El Niño watch issued by the CPC in March remains in effect,” the report states. “Their Dec. 4 report gave a 65 percent chance that El Niño conditions would be present during the winter and last into spring 2015. The model consensus was for a weak event if El Niño emerges. According to the National Weather Service, El Niño effects, including enhanced precipitation and severe weather in the southeast, are strongest in the fall, winter and spring.”
The U.S. Drought Monitor report of Dec. 2 indicates abnormally dry conditions in the Aucilla basin, according to the report.
The SRWMD continues to urge water consumers to eliminate unnecessary uses for the sake of water conservation. Information about the SRWMD’s year-round lawn and landscape irrigation measures is available at www.mysuwanneeriver.com.
The SRWMD encompasses all or parts of 15 counties in north-central Florida, including Madison and the eastern portion of Jefferson.
The monthly report, prepared by SRWMD senior professional engineer Megan Wetherington, is a compilation of data collected from radar-derived rainfall estimates, groundwater and surface water levels, river flows and other sources.