ORLANDO, Fla. – For a lot of Central Florida, the wet season has been anything but.
The summer months are typically a time where you can bank on seeing a passing thunderstorm just about every afternoon, but this year has been very different.
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It has been very dry for east Central Florida and especially along the coast. Melbourne is more than 8 inches below normal since June 1. Daytona Beach is more than 7 inches below normal in the rainfall department for the summer season. There isn’t much improvement a little further inland.
The wet season is driven by the sea breeze.
Storms fire just inland of the east and west coast beaches and march toward the interior of the peninsula.
In a typical year, with the heating of the day the east and west coast sea breezes get going along their respective coasts. A few storms get going along each sea breeze and march inland, colliding around Interstate 4 give or take. The collision produces prolific thunderstorm activity. It’s one of the reasons why Geneva is one of the top locations in the country for lightning strike density.
There are days, though, when the east coast sea breeze is dominant and the collision will happen closer to Interstate 75 with the widespread storms sweeping off into the Gulf of Mexico.
Then there are days when the west coast sea breeze is dominant. The western edge advances across the state faster, pinning the east coast sea breeze near or along Interstate 95. The widespread storms light up in this area and then move into the Atlantic giving the beaches some rain.
So why so dry?
High pressure has been dominant over the western Atlantic, which has allowed an easterly wind to be persistent. This east wind has given the east coast sea breeze the extra push to be dominant for a good chunk of the wet season. This has lead to the sea breeze collision, and more widespread thunderstorms, to occur west of Orlando.
It’s also why Leesburg is currently the only climate location where official records are kept to be above normal in the rainfall department since June 1.