Why has it been so dry in Central Florida lately?

Storms have been focused closer to I-75

‘Dangerous heat:’ Highs hover near 90 in Central Florida
‘Dangerous heat:’ Highs hover near 90 in Central Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. – If you think it’s been much drier than it should be, you would be correct.

We have officially entered the wet season, the time when routine cold fronts stop visiting Florida and the daily storms associated with the sea breezes fire up.

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The wet season typically begins in mid to late May. Last year, the wet season lived up to its name. This year, not so much -- to date.

Check out the difference between last year and this year from the start of May to June 8.

Rain comparison

The main culprit for why it’s been so dry is an area of high pressure in the mid-levels of our atmosphere.

Air sinks with high pressure. When air sinks, it dries out and warms up.

The setup

The data from Tuesday’s weather balloon launch from Brevard County shows the dry air at about 10,000 feet above the ground. The green line on the chart is the dew point and the red line is the temperature. The greater the separation between the two lines, the drier the air.

Tuesday evening sounding

Thunderstorms like to have it moist through the atmosphere to be sustained. Storms that have developed along the sea breeze just haven’t been able to last long because of that dry air.

Most of the storms that have been been able to last have been closer to I-75.

Sea breeze

This is because high pressure at the surface near Bermuda has kept a persistent southeast breeze across Central Florida. This wind pushes the east coast sea breeze to the west, allowing the the collision between the west coast and east coast sea breezes to occur closer to the west coast of Florida.

Storms have been focused closer to I-75

The collision provides more forcing, or lift, for the storms to break through the region of dry air above the surface.

Rain chances stay low through the start of the weekend.

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