Last week saw strong storms drenching Boca Raton and northern Palm Beach County, but the rain wasn’t enough to bring March up to normal for the month in South Florida.
According to the South Florida Water Management District, 2.10 inches of rain have fallen in coastal areas of Palm Beach County in March, about 73 percent of what is normal for this time of the month.
In the 16-county region that is managed by the district, rainfall is about 1.27 inches, down 55 percent from the historic norm.
And that’s probably a good thing.
For the year, the 16 counties are nearly 7 inches above normal.
Coastal Palm Beach County is about 5.5 inches above normal.
The extra rainfall spells trouble for water managers who have to figure out where to put it all.
Lake Okeechobee is still above 15 feet and damaging fresh water continues to gush into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.
On Thursday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it would not reduce releases any further than what it had the previous week.
Currently, about 756 million gallons per day is flowing into the St. Lucie River. About 2 billion gallons per day is going into the Caloosahatchee.
But abnormally low rainfall is not what was forecast for this month. The Climate Prediction Center said earlier this year that March would be abnormally rainy in Florida.
“The highest probabilities of increased precipitation are in Florida, where the impacts of El Nino work out with more certainty than other places in the country,” said Climate Prediction Center researcher Huug van den Dool. “March, April and May will be above normal again.”
And March may still be abnormally wet. With four days left in the month, the forecast is for rain every day — chances ranging between 20 percent and 70 percent.