TAMPA BAY – An active weather pattern is very common in April and May in other parts of the country. Severe weather often strikes the plains, Midwest, and southeastern United States during the spring months.
However, here in Florida we don’t usually see much happening this time of year, because the cold fronts in winter and spring don’t make it to Florida and conditions aren’t quite set for our summer rainy season yet.
Things have been a little different this year, going back to mid-April. You may recall that winter was held a little late this year through March and April in the North Central and Northeastern United States.
Well, this delay in early spring there has caused what would normally be March and April-like weather systems to take place later in the season. This is important because that cold air going up contributes to the instability we can have.
Then you take into account our warm temperatures, added humidity and our daily sea breeze and what is usually a quiet time of the year with the occasional sea breeze shower turning into a much wetter scenario. Normally, May delivers about 2.5 to 3 inches of rain in Central Florida. Most areas in the first 2 weeks of May have had between 4 and 6 inches of rain. This is on top of a wet pattern until the end of April.
Notable rain events
There have been four notable events in Tampa Bay this month. On May 2, we followed a weak, low-pressure area from the Bahamas that crossed Florida and produced widespread 1 to 2 inch rain totals.
This event was not really tied to spring weather, but rather something from the tropics, even though this was not a tropical system.
The big event was on May 5, when a large line of coastal storms entered the area from the Gulf of Mexico. Widespread strong to strong winds caused damage to the area. There was even a tornado that landed on Madeira Beach that day, which caused extra damage.
But with this event, most areas saw between 1 and 2 inches of rain. In Citrus County, repeated storms resulted in 4 inches of rain.
On May 9, we had a somewhat typical summer day, with heat and humidity and scattered storms where about 60 percent of the area saw rain and more than an inch in some locations.
Finally, going back to last weekend, we looked at a new front movement. This time, the front stopped, so we managed to see some decent rain from late Sunday night through Tuesday with again widespread 0.5 to 1.5 inches of rain.
More typical pattern is coming
Looking ahead, the weather pattern should return to a more typical May pattern over the next two weeks, which would mean hot days, some humidity (not as high as summer), and spotty chances of one or two showers.
But there doesn’t seem to be any significant weather in the next two weeks. Enjoy it now because soon we will be in our typical summer weather with daily storms.