LIVE OAK, FL, November 7, 2016 – Rainfall in the Suwannee River Water Management District (District) for October averaged only 1.18 inches, equaling about one-third of the long-term average for October rainfall of 3.05 inches. Most coastal counties of the District received less than 20% of normal rainfall during the month, and only Bradford County received more than 75% of normal.
“As rainfall decreases in fall, the District urges residents to be thoughtful in their water usage,” said Noah Valenstein, executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District. “Although these decreases in rainfall are normal for the season, we should all be mindful stewards of the district’s natural resources.”
The passage of Hurricane Matthew to the east of the District in the early days of the month contributed a significant amount of the rainfall which did occur, although much of that fell along the eastern boundary of the District. Other than the upper Aucilla River basin and eastern Madison County, most areas of the District have received virtually no rain since the first week of October. The entire Suwannee River Basin, including Georgia, received well below normal rainfall during the month, with the exceptions noted above.
The highest gaged monthly rainfall total of 3.76 inches was recorded at the Louis Hill forestry tower in northeast Bradford County, and the highest daily total of 2.88 inches on October 7 was also recorded there. The lowest gaged monthly total was 0.04 inches at the Rosewood Tower rainfall station in Levy County near Cedar Key.
“Monthly rainfall totals tend to decline after the end of September, with October and November in particular being low rainfall months. In addition, the onset of La Niña conditions appears to already be having an impact on North Florida, as La Niña tends to decrease rainfall amounts across the lower tier of the United States as a whole,” said Tom Mirti, director of the water supply division for the Suwannee River Water Management District
Due to relatively low rainfall amounts, no river levels ended higher than they started at the beginning of October. High September rainfall helped maintain most downstream river levels at normal flow status.
All District lakes declined by at least two inches last month with an average decline of six inches. However, District springs either remained steady or increased in October due to past rainfall and declining river levels into which the springs flow. The decrease in back pressure on the spring vent outflow due to low river levels keeps springs levels steady.
Particularly in times of low rainfall, users are encouraged to eliminate unnecessary water usage and adhere to district water use schedules and guidelines. Additionally, landscape irrigation should be limited to once per week during winter months.
For more rainfall information and to read the full report, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com/waterdataportal. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, search @SRWMD.