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LAKE WALES

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Lake Wales Ridge: Spatial and Temporal Variability of Rainfall

In much of central Florida, cover crops (mechanically or naturally seeded plants) are grown between trees for the organic matter they add to the soil. The typical approach is to grow cover crops during the summer rainy season and to chemically remove these plants during early fall to late spring. However, in some regions, cover crops may be removed in winter to provide cold protection and to reduce fire hazard. - click to enlarge

In much of central Florida, cover crops (mechanically or naturally seeded plants) are grown between trees for the organic matter they add to the soil. The typical approach is to grow cover crops during the summer rainy season and to chemically remove these plants during early fall to late spring. However, in some regions, cover crops may be removed in winter to provide cold protection and to reduce fire hazard. - click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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Click to enlarge

 click to enlarge

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Compared to the long-term record, the 1999-2003 period has included some low and high rainfall extremes in this region. Rainfall measured at six National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate stations distributed across the Ridge exhibits both seasonal and spatial variability.

SEASONAL RAINFALL DISTRIBUTION

The 1961-1990 long-term mean annual rainfall in the vicinity of Lake Wales Ridge ranged from about 45 to 54 inches. The seasonal distribution of rainfall shows that about 60 percent of the annual rainfall occurs during June through September, the period during which monthly values typically range from about 6 to 9 inches and when the highest annual rainfall intensities tend to occur. During these months, rainfall typically originates from localized convective storm cells and can vary significantly over short distances. Tropical storms or hurricanes, which generally occur between June and December, can also bring high rainfall amounts and intensities.

1999-2002 ANNUAL TOTALS COMPARED TO LONG-TERM RECORD

During the April 1999 through July 2003 study period, there were years of nearly average precipitation as well as years (and months) significantly above and below long-term averages. Annual rainfall at Archbold Research Station, which has the longest precipitation record on the Ridge (1932-2002), shows that the 1999 and 2001 annual rainfall totals were each about 6.5 inches higher than the long-term annual average of 53.6-inches; the annual total for 2000 (27.3 inches) was the lowest during the 71-year record; and the 2002 total (72.6 inches) was the 5th highest on record.

SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIABILITY

The 1999 to 2002 annual rainfall on the Ridge, averaged from six climate stations across the study area, ranged from about 32 inches during 2000 to about 67 inches during 2002. Highest monthly totals occurred during June 1999, July 2001, September 2001, and June 2002, and exceeded 15 inches at some of the climate stations. The July 2001 total exceeded 20 inches at some stations. At Archbold Station, the July 2001 total was the highest July total on record, and the June 2002 total was the 3rd highest June rainfall total on record during the period 1932-2002.

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Page Last Modified: Saturday, 29-Dec-2012 00:01:17 EST