Friday, Dec 19, 2014
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County hit with 38.2 inches of rain this season

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Hernando County picked up 38.2 inches of moisture this rainy season, which ended Monday.

That's down from 41.2 inches a year earlier, when Tropical Storm Debby saturated the county.

The historical average for rainy season in Hernando County - which runs from June 1 to Sept. 30 - is 31.5 inches.

Granville Kinsman, manager of the Southwest Florida Water Management District's hydrologic data section, said the aquifer is in good shape.

"We have seen good response in groundwater as a result of the rainfall, with the wells in Hernando County currently slightly above the average level we would expect for this time of the year," he said.

On a scale of 0 (record low) to 100 (record high), Hernando County groundwater monitoring wells are currently 56, Kinsman said.

County lakes also have shown improvement.

Hunters Lake has risen 4.04 feet since the end of May, Lake Lindsay has risen 2.85 feet and Spring Lake is up 1.7 feet.

The official end of rainy season does not mean the county will remain dry. In fact, Tropical Storm Karen formed in the Gulf of Mexico this week and, depending on its path, forecasters say it could dump rain on the Tampa Bay region early next week.

The spaghetti plots show the storm veering toward the north part of the Gulf and away from Hernando County.

Kinsman said two-thirds of the region's rain falls between June 1 through Sept. 30, "so our rainy season is really important," Kinsman said.

Rains may be tapering off, but hot temperatures should linger awhile.

Kinsman said Hernando County has been known to get some cold fronts as early as the first weeks in October. But sometimes it doesn't start cooling off until November, he said.

Hurricane season also lingers until Nov. 30 and this is the time of year when they are more apt to form closer to home.

"We're not off the hook as far as hurricane season is concerned," said Hernando County Emergency Management Director Cecilia Patella.

Hurricane season starts June 1 and continues through Nov. 30.

"The shift or focus we need to be concentrating on is the storms that could potentially form in the Caribbean or the Gulf," she said.

Patella said those storms tend to form faster than those off the coast of Africa and there is less lead time for emergency personnel to get the word out.

Probably the most serious weather event so far this year occurred Aug. 21, when six inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period and led to flooding, Patella said.

The ground is fairly saturated right now and would likely not absorb much more rain should a major storm occur, she added.

mbates@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5290

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