What’s with all the rainy days? I thought it was the ‘dry season’

Here’s what the wet and dry seasons actually are

Cars drive through the rain on Rose Avenue and Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando on Monday, July 31.

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s another rainy day across Central Florida.

In November, Orlando has had a trace of rain on more than 50% of the days.

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November is typically the first full month of the dry season, but this year it hasn’t been all that dry.

November rainfall to date

To define the dry season, we first must look at what the rainy or wet season is in Florida.

If you live or frequently visit the Sunshine State in the summer, you know that you can count on storms almost daily in the afternoon. These storms are triggered by the sea breeze, initiated in late spring and early summer when temperatures get hotter.

The sea breeze develops, in our case, from uneven heating between the land and the slower-to-warm ocean.

Sea breeze formation

The warm air over land starts to rise while the air over the relatively cooler ocean sinks. Low pressure forms over land, while high pressure develops over the ocean. Air moves from areas of high pressure to low pressure creating a boundary, in this case the sea breeze.

Sea breeze formation

The air moving inland forces up the air over the land, creating thunderstorms.

Sea breeze formation

So what is the dry season?

The dry season begins when the sea breezes stop initiating. This typically happens in the middle of October when the temperature difference between the land and is less extreme. The true definition of the dry season is when the sea breeze stops forming and therefore the daily afternoon storms come to an end. A strong cold front, the first or second one of the season, usually ushers in the dry season.

Cold and warm fronts, however, become more common in the fall and winter months and bring with them their own clouds and rain. While they don’t move through as often as the daily storms triggered by the summer sea breeze, they can still bring significant rainfall, even when in the “dry season.”

About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.