TAMPA - If Bill Place had his druthers, rain would be limited to a certain time of day. "We'd like it to rain between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.," joked Place, owner of Pebble Creek, Wentworth and Crescent Oaks golf clubs. "Unfortunately, it just doesn't seem to happen that way." Mother Nature has her own schedule. The month of June was a wet one for the Tampa Bay Area. As of Sunday evening, 10.34 inches of rain had fallen during the month, according to Robert Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin. June typically averages 6.39 inches of rain.
"It kind of feels that way, particularly this weekend," Place said. "I was (at the golf course) all weekend long and the rain was just coming and going." At his Wentworth course in Tarpon Springs, 140 rounds of golf were scheduled last weekend. This past weekend, just 29 rounds of golf were booked, he said. Over in St. Petersburg, just under 9 inches of rain was recorded at the airport, which is nearly 3 inches above normal. The Sarasota-Bradenton area was an inch above normal after 8.10 inches of rain during the month of June. Garcia said its hard to say whether the soggy trend will continue. "Last year we had 18.66 inches of rain in June and a lot of it was attributable to tropical weather," Garcia said, referring to Tropical Storm Debbie. "It all depends on if we have anything come up from the tropics, that will be a big tell." Generally speaking, the wet weather isn't a big deal at Tampa Bay Downs. Horses race from December until May. This was the first year the horse racing track ventured into the summer months. The track held a Summer Festival of Racing event Sunday and rain was an issue. "We don't typically run in the summer time at all because of weather," Margo J. Flynn, vice president of marketing for Tampa Bay Downs said. "It did force us to not run on the (grass) course. We had to run all but one race on the main track." Flynn said horse racing happens rain or shine, unless lightning is in the area. Although jockeys prefer a dry horse and similar course, some steeds enjoy a muddy surface. "It's all part of the business," Flynn said of the rain. "There are some horses that prefer a wet track. Some horses run better (in those conditions)." The excess rains will play an important role in whether the Southwest Florida Water Management District ends or continues its water restrictions. The entity imposed a Phase III water restriction schedule for Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties in March. The limitations will expire July 31. The schedule dictates water usage from the days lawns can be watered to the use of water in fountains. Reclaimed water is not restricted. "The current restrictions expire on July 31 . and it just so happens that our governing board meeting is July 30," Susanna Martinez Tarokh, SWFWMD spokeswoman said. "The board will make a decision to either let those expire on the 31st or to take new action depending on what happens the day before on the 30th." Sunday afternoon, Stacy Keisler was inside an empty clubhouse at Pebble Creek Golf Club in New Tampa. The rains had come and golfers put away their irons. "We're right here near that I-75, I-275 junction and you can watch these storms build up everyday," Keisler, the course's director of golf, said. "Sometimes it comes across 275 and 75 and sometimes it doesn't, but this month, they've all formed right up on us like big ol' balloons and just burst." firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 371-1860 Twitter: @EDanielsTBO