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A stalled front that brought copious amounts of rain to southern parts of the Sunshine State late last week and into the weekend. Numerous rainfall records were broken over the period, with some receiving over a foot of rain. Let’s take a look at some of the records that were set, could still be set, and how often this type of heavy rainfall occurs in December across southern Florida.
Miami – Records Set To Begin The Month
So much for it being the “dry” season in Miami, as each of the past six days have seen some form of rain recorded — and three of the past six days have had over an inch of rain fall. The most fell back on Friday (the 4th) with 3.73″ being recorded. Both the 3rd and 4th saw their daily rainfall record fall.
The 3.73″ that fell on the 4th not only broke the record for the day, but also is able to be hoisted into the record books as the fifth wettest December day in Miami history. It fell just short of the fourth wettest, back on December 26th of 2013 when 3.75″ fell.
It’s not only daily records we’re breaking, however. The 8.48″ of rain that has fallen from the first to the sixth of the month already ranks Miami as the second wettest December on record, only needing 0.56″ of rain to move into sole position of first place.
The 8.48″ so far this month also helps set another record as the rainiest seven day period during winter (December – February) in the city of Miami, breaking the previous wettest seven day period set back in January/February of 1926 when exactly seven inches fell. If more rain falls at the Miami airport later today, they could extend that lead even further.
Comparing this December to the wettest ones on record for the Miami area, we are already far ahead of the pace set by them. In fact, December 2015 is currently sitting as the wettest start to December on record, and will be in this position until December 18th, which is when the wettest December (1929) passes by this year… that is, if we don’t see any more rain before then.
And taking a look at the year so far, December 5th was the first time with above average rainfall for the year since January 13. We’ve been running a rainfall deficit for much of the year, and for part of the summer into fall saw an extreme drought across the region. While we’re glad to get the rain, it has been a little too much at once.
Probability Of A Two Inch Rain In A Miami December
Seeing at least one rainfall of two inches or greater isn’t that common in the month of December across southern Florida – Miami included. This chart from the Florida Climate Center show the probability of it occurring, broken down by month and phase of ENSO. In an El Nino winter, the pattern is set up to bring more rainfall events (and phentermine side effects severe weather) across Florida, increasing the probability of a two inch rainfall. During an El Nino December, the probability of one or more two inch rainfalls sits at right about a 45% chance of occurring. The odds decrease greatly in a La Nina or neutral (titled as “neither” in this chart) December, sitting only in about the 10-20% range.
If we break down the data for the probability of a two inch rainfall occurring twice in the same month, we can see our odds quickly decrease across the entire year. However, looking at December, the odds are still higher in an El Nino December (between 10-15%) verses a La Nina or neutral year (less than 5%).
Not Only Location With Heavy Rain
Miami wasn’t the only location in southern Florida to receive a lot of rainfall in only a few days. This is rainfall over the first six days of the month across portions of southern Florida with numerous amounts of eight inches or higher from Pompano Beach down through Miami to Homestead.
Kendall flooding Sat Dec. 5th! RT : crazy flooding in Kendall near 120 street and 122 ave.
— NWS Miami (@NWSMiami)
The highest total over the first six days of the month at an ASOS/AWOS location was at the Kendall-Tamiami Airport in Miami-Dade County, where 13.37 inches fell. Most of that fell on Saturday, when 8.82″ was recorded, making it the wettest day on record. That was after three and a third inches fell on Friday. The amount they have seen through the first six days was good enough to blow the previous wettest December on record, which was 3.53″ in 2013. It is important to note, however, when talking about these records that the period of record at this airport only goes back to mid-June of 1998.
3-day Florida rain from observers. In Miami-Dade Co. 9-10 inches fell in 12 hrs Sat.
— Steve Hilberg (@hbergSteve)
Taking a closer look at some CoCoRaHS weather observers across these regions, rainfall amounts into Sunday morning reflected a lot closer to what was seen at the Kendall-Tamiami Airport in some areas, with over of 14″ of rain from Hammocks and into Lindgren Acres.
The good news is that the rain is tapering off – somewhat. Today (Monday) will hold the best chance of rain continuing across portions of southern Florida as rain bands already this morning are moving back into southern Florida. Precipitable water hovering around an inch above average, meaning heavy rain is likely once again. While showers will continue into Tuesday, the chance of rain decreased heading toward midweek and into the weekend, allowing areas to finally start drying out.
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– Meteorologist D.J. Kayser