Rainy season begins on Saturday
FORT MYERS, Fla.– The start of South Florida’s rainy season begins on Saturday, May 15th and runs through October 15th.
During this five-month stretch of time the vast majority of the rain our area sees each year falls, as sea breeze-driven thunderstorms pop up and drench various regions of the peninsula depending on the wind direction of the day.
Having a fixed-date rainy season is a relatively new concept, but one that makes sense.
A few years ago, instead of being a set date season, the rainy season’s start and end date was always declared retroactivity. (The season would begin after three consecutive days of sea breeze storms, dew points above 70 degrees and no fronts.)
Nowadays though, the fixed-date approach to the rainy season is more commonly accepted as it lines up with the approach that hurricane season uses.
As you know, hurricane season runs between June 1 to November 30. But hurricane season’s start date doesn’t mean a hurricane is on our doorstep the first day of the season. It simply calls out the time of the year when tropical systems are most likely.
A fixed-date season approach to the rainy season does the same thing, identifying the time of year when our rainy season weather pattern is most common.
This means no cold fronts, plenty of hot and humid weather, and a near-daily barrage of sea breeze fueled rain and storms that can sometimes turn into big rain events.
Related video: Watch Meteorologist Jason Dunning explain the sea breeze in our NBC2 Weather Class
The sea breeze is an important weather concept to understand in our part of the world.
It forms thanks to the temperature contrast between land and water. Because land heats up faster than water does, the temperature contrast forms a pressure difference in the atmosphere that sparks a small-scale front of sorts to move from the coastline inland.
In the summertime when hot, humid and unstable weather abounds, that sea breeze helps instigate storms as it collides with the prevailing winds, which are oftentimes moving in the other direction (the sea breeze in Southwest Florida moves from west to east, the prevailing winds oftentimes move from east to west of east-southeast to west-northwest).
What’s important to remember about the sea breeze and weather here in the summertime is how localized it can be.
Because our storms are forming along the sea breeze and not because of a cold front or storm system they can sometimes be very selective!
It’s not at all uncommon for some areas to see several inches of flooding rain while a few miles down the street other communities stay totally dry.
Since these storms are not moving along with a weather front they can also be slow to stationary, or move erratically as outflow boundaries collide and send storms moving in totally different directions.
So though not every backyard sees rain each summer day, it’s good to keep in mind that at just about any day in the summer it’s going to rain somewhere.
Keeping up with our NBC2 First Alert Live Doppler radar on TV and our weather app is important as based on the wind flow each day we can fine tune what regions of the area have the best rain chances.
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