TAMPA BAY — An active weather pattern is very common in April and May in other parts of the country. Severe weather often affects the Plains, Midwest, and Southeast U.S. during the spring months.
However, here in Florida, we usually don’t see much happening this time of year, as winter and spring cold fronts don’t make it in to Florida and the conditions aren't quite set up right for our summer rainy season just yet.
Things have been a little different this year going back to the middle of April. You may remember that winter held on a little late this year through March and April across the North Central and Northeastern United States.
Well, this delay in getting into spring up there has caused what would normally be March and April-type weather systems to occur later in the season. This is important because that cold air aloft adds to the instability that we can have.
Then you factor in our warm temperatures, added humidity and our daily sea breeze and what is usually is a quiet time of year with an occasional sea breeze shower turns into a much wetter scenario. Normally, May yields 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 to end April.
Notable rain events
There have been four notable events across Tampa Bay already this month. On May 2, we were tracking a weak low pressure area from the Bahamas that moved over Florida producing widespread 1 to 2 inch rain totals.
This event wasn’t really tied to spring weather, but more so something out of the tropics, even though this wasn’t a tropical system.
The big event was on May 5, when a large line of storms up and down the coast raced into the area from the Gulf of Mexico. Widespread strong to severe winds caused damage around the area. A tornado even came onshore that day in Madeira Beach, causing some added damage.
But with this event most areas saw between 1 and 2 inches of rain. In Citrus County, repeated storms led to 4 inches of rain.
Then on May 9, we had a somewhat typical summer-like day, with heat and humidity and scattered storms where about 60 percent of the area saw rain, and some locations saw more than an inch.
Finally, going back to last weekend we were watching another front move in. This time the front stalled, so we managed to see decent rain coverage from late Sunday night through Tuesday with again widespread 0.5 to 1.5 inches of rain.
More typical pattern coming
Looking forward, the weather pattern should correct back to a more typical May pattern for the next week or two, which would mean warm days, some humidity (not as high as summer), and spotty chances for a shower or two.
But no significant weather events appear likely over the next week or two. Enjoy it now, because soon enough we will be in our typical Summer weather with daily storms.