As of 5:19 p.m. (ET), it's officially autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Up north, leaves are starting to change color, nights are getting a bit nippy, and people are starting to dig out their sweaters and wonder whether they remembered to have their winter coats dry-cleaned last spring or if they better haul them in now before freezing temps arrive.
Here in My Florida Backyard, we sweated through the day as the thermometer topped 90 as usual. Summer temperatures will linger here for at least another 4-6 weeks, although the rains will likely begin to dwindle. By the time we reach November, we can expect the humidity to scale back somewhat (November is the driest month of the year here) and the temperatures to return to more comfortable levels.
Until then, we're soaking up as much rain as we can get. Since our first substantial rain back on May 12, Tampa's had a very decent rainy season. The hurricane season has been mild thus far, and no tropical systems have brought us any precipitation to speak of. However, we've had lots of afternoon thunderstorms and even a few systems moving down from the north to bring our rainfall totals to very respectable amounts.
Our drought index standings have improved dramatically, but it's important to remember that although seasonally we've received a great deal of rain, once the dry seasons starts, our rivers and reservoirs will once again begin to dry up. Water conservation is always important in Florida.
Fortunately, Mike Clay (head meteorologist at Bay News 9) notes that a moderate El Nino is expected this winter. El Nino winters typically bring more precipitation than usual, so we can hope to continue receiving these much needed rains over the autumn months. Of course, El Nino winters also bring a higher risk of severe weather. The Christmas Day tornadoes of 2006 were considered a result of a weak El Nino. It remains to be seen what El Nino will mean for Florida this winter.