South Florida rainfall set July records

08/02/2013 4:31 PM

08/02/2013 11:33 PM

South Florida is saturated — even without much impact from the remnants of Tropical Storm Dorian, which remained just off the coast much of Friday.

The South Florida Water Management District said it was the wettest start to the wet season — which typically begins in mid-May — in 45 years.

Much of the region, from Lake Okeechobee to Everglades marshes, is near or at historic high levels of water, with levels boosted by the wettest July since 2001.

On Friday, President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for the state and ordered federal aid for recovery efforts in the worst-affected areas.

The National Weather Service also reported that it was the wettest month of July on record for two cities. Miami Beach’s 18.57 inches was the most rain in July for records dating to 1927 — a whopping 14.12 inches above typical rainfall. Fort Lauderdale’s 15.49 inches were the most recorded since 1913, 9.51 inches above an average month.

Hialeah recorded 13.48 inches, the second wettest July since 1940.

Across the 16-county water management district, which stretches from south of Orlando to Key West, an average of 10.36 inches of rain fell in July — 147 percent of average.

Lake Okeechobee received 9.15 inches of direct rainfall during the month, which has contributed to high water levels. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is dumping water from the lake in an effort to reduce pressure on its aging dike.

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