If you live anywhere from NE Florida to the Everglades, you’ve probably been choking and sneezing in a cloud of smoke from one of 310 fires across the not-so-Sunshine State. For this reason, Governor Scott has declared a State of Emergency for the entire state. According to the press release, more than 115,000 acres or 230 square miles have been burned across the State.
The above image is the Keetch Byram Drought Index, which is a measure of the moisture in the soil. The scale ranges from 0 to 800, and almost the entire state has a KBDI of over 550 or prolonged drought. According to the US Drought Monitor, most of Southeast FL and northwestern Florida are experiencing extreme to exceptional drought, the most severe intensities of droughts.
Unfortunately when Florida gets into droughts such as this, it generally takes some sort of tropical system to squash a drought this intense. Looking out as far at 7-10 days, there are no visible signs that the tropics may heat up at this time. A few tropical waves continue to cross the Atlantic and Caribbean, but those will remain well to the south and remain disorganized. The Gulf of Mexico remains to dry to foster anything tropical due to the wild fires across the SW US and the overall dry conditions over Mexico.
The picture across America is generally a tale of two tiers right now. The northern US has had very wet weather and even some severe weather in the last few weeks. The southern US, as many of us know, has been extremely dry. Florida is not the only state that has been dealing with fires as of late, as Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas have been dealing with worse fire weather than we have here.
As a consequence of all of this dry air, temperatures across Florida will be nearing in on the century mark in the warmer spots. Even the barrier islands, which usually stay in the low to mid 90’s, will be pushing 90 in the next few days. Heat Advisories are out for the western Florida Panhandle, and feels like temperatures will breach 100 from the Panhandle deep into South Florida. Rain chances will remain below 30% around the state for most of the next 7 days.
Conditions may begin to look up during the last third of the month. Stay tuned and follow me on twitter @JonathanBelles for updates.