First hurricane of 2021 still wasn’t enough for Central Florida to recover from rain deficit

Rainfall deficit numbers move very little

A jogger makes his way along Bayshore Blvd., in Tampa, Fla. as a wave breaks over a seawall, during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Elsa Wednesday, July 7, 2021. The Tampa Bay area was spared major damage as Elsa stayed off shore as it passed by. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Orlando – Elsa continues to move to the northeast after making landfall an hour before lunch on Wednesday. Tropical rain bands brought rain to parts of Central Florida, but was it enough to make a big impact on the rainfall deficit? We decided to crunch the numbers.

On Tuesday as Elsa moved closer to the west coast of Florida, most local cities needed anywhere from 3.50 to almost 7 inches of rain to reach the normal rainfall amounts for this time of year. Leesburg was the only city in the green with over three inches of rainfall over its average.

Most of central Florida was in a rainfall deficit Tuesday ahead of Elsa. Leesburg was the only city above the average by over three inches. (wkmg)

It took most of the day for the rain to move in. Elsa, a hurricane at the time, encountering a little shear and dry air which made the organized system more ragged late Tuesday. The rainbands were limited throughout the day, but overnight that changed.

Shortly after midnight bands of tropical rain packing a punch moved into Sumter county, triggering the first of four tornado warnings for Central Florida.

The majority of the tropical downpours hugged the west coast and trickled into western counties. The highest rainfall total in the report issued by the National Weather Service Tampa office as of noon Wednesday was in Punta Gorda at 11.04 inches over a 30 hour period of time. Cities like Bartow racked up 3.90 inches of rain in the same report. Lakeland also added 5.68 inches of rain to their local report.

Most of central Florida cities received less than an inch of rain in a 24 hour period of time associated with Elsa. Leesburg and cities in western Marion, Polk, and Sumter counties racked up several inches of rain as heavy rain hugged the west coast of Florida. (wkmg)

Here’s how the rain impacted our local deficit. For Leesburg, the surplus jumped from 3.39 inches to 5.20 inches above the average rainfall. The rest of central Florida wasn’t so lucky. Orlando improved by almost a quarter-inch of rain bringing the deficit number to -3.90″. Daytona Beach, Sanford, and Melbourne had very little rain accumulation still needing over 5 to 7 inches of rainfall just to reach normal levels.

Rainfall from Elsa sent Leesburg to over 5 inches above the average rainfall for the year to date. The rest of central Florida still needing over 5-7 inches to be near normal values. (wkmg)

About the Authors:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.

Candace joined the News 6 team as the weekend morning meteorologist and reporter. She comes to Central Florida from Miami.