TAMPA - You weren't imagining things. It really did rain almost every day in July. Rain fell 24 out of 31 days last month, dousing the Tampa area with 10 inches of precipitation, according to the National Weather Service. That's 3 inches above normal for July. "Generally, it was below an inch most of the time," forecaster Andrew McKaughan said about the measurable rainfall on the 24 moist days last month. "Either way, we had a lot of rain." There's been so much rainfall that the Southwest Water Management District allowed once-a-week watering restrictions to expire on Wednesday.
The conservation measure, which included Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and 10 other counties, had been in effect since March, during the heart of Florida's dry season. Since then, there have been "significant improvement in aquifer and river levels as a result of this summer's above-average rainfall," said district spokeswoman Susanna Martinez Tarokh. "The region's major public water suppliers have also been able to capture and store large supplies of water to meet the needs of residents." The wet weather actually started in June, which had 11 inches of rain, McKaughan said. Rainfall totals were skewed that month by Tropical Storm Andrea, which soaked the area with 4 inches of rain on June 5-6, he said. August averages about 7.7 inches of rain, due to the month's typical hot, humid days and afternoon thunderstorms. "This time of year, we can't ever count out the chance of afternoon storms," McKaughan said. There's a 40 percent chance of rain today and Saturday, which the forecaster calls "normal summertime weather." firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 259-7920 Twitter@TBORay