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Abnormally Dry 'Dry Season' In South Florida

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - This year's dry season has caused a drought in South Florida with abnormally dry conditions continuing for Broward, Miami-Dade and the Keys.

In the dry season, which runs from October 15 to May 15, it is expected that South Florida receives the least amount of rainfall compared to other times of the year. However, this year is so far too dry for our standards.

Back in October of 2020, NOAA released the 2021 Winter Outlook which forecasts the general conditions across the nation for the winter months. NOAA predicted warmer and drier conditions across the southern U.S. due in part to an ongoing 'La Nina.' Then NOAA's 2021 Spring Outlook was released in March. In this forecast, NOAA stated that "low soil moisture will allow drought conditions to develop and expand in the southern and central Great Plains as well as southern Florida."

This forecast is certainly playing out. Since January 1st of this year, Miami has received 8 inches of rain which puts Miami at about 2 inches below the normal rainfall accumulation that should be received up to this point.

And it is not just Miami. Fort Lauderdale is dealing with a big deficit in rainfall. Normally, rainfall totals would be over 12 inches from the beginning of the year till now but only 7 inches of rain has fallen in Fort Lauderdale since the start of 2021.

The lack of raindrops has also impacted the Keys. Key West has more than a 4.5-inch deficit in rainfall while Marathon has a 6.5-inch deficit!

Without a doubt, South Florida is vulnerable to brush or grass fires during the dry season. Even more so when drought conditions are happening. This is why it is so important to not throw out cigarette buds on the ground, in the grass or bushes because that can spark a fire instantly in the dry grass.

Also, if you want to water your lawn, the best times to do that are at dawn or at dusk. If you have a sprinkler system turn it on during the night. During these specific hours, there is the least amount of evaporation occurring which results in the soil and plants efficiently absorbing the moisture.

Currently, firefighters are fighting the 416 Fire in southern Miami-Dade County that is located next to Card Sound Road. As of Monday afternoon, on May 3rd, Florida Fire Service officials stated that 11,500 across have burned and the fire remains 70% contained. Also, Card Sound Road is closed in both directions as a burnout operation is in progress.

Stay tuned to CBS4 and for the latest updates on the grass fire.

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