June 19, 2007

Want to know if we’re catching up on the drought? How does the current drought compare to the historic drought of 2000-2001?

A new Southwest Florida Water Management District web page provides information on long-term rainfall and river flows in west-central Florida.

Color-coded charts and maps compare current rainfall and river flows to historical levels, illustrating the degree to which levels deviate from normal over the 16-county District.

The District developed the weather web page after working with local meteorologists to determine an effective way to communicate rainfall and drought information to the public.

A map shows rainfall distribution over the 16-county District by comparing rainfall levels for the most recent 12-month period to historic averages. Rather than relying on one rain gauge, the map is produced by extracting data from multiple gauges throughout the District, colorfully illustrating how the rain has been dispersed throughout the region.

Charts compare the most recent one-year and 10-year flows of four rivers to their average historical, seasonal flows, categorizing flows as above normal, normal, below normal and extremely low. The 10-year charts include data from 2000-2001, allowing for a comparison of the conditions in the current drought to that historic drought.

“Rainfall and other weather information are hot topics because of the drought,” said Robyn Hanke, media relations manager. “Collecting the information available in one location makes it more accessible for the public.”

In addition to information on rainfall and river flows, the web page provides links to other District hydrological data as well as other weather resources, such as the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center and the Southeast River Forecast Center.

To visit the District’s weather web page, go to http://www.WaterMatters.org/weather/.

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