Miami-Dade County

Weather Service: July has been wetter than average in South Florida

As July enters its final week, the month has had more rainy days than average, according to the National Weather Service.

More than 8 inches of rain have fallen at Miami International Airport from the beginning of the month until Saturday, a little over three inches above normal, according to meteorologist Alex Gibbs.

Three inches equates to only one or two downpours though, meaning the month has not been highly abnormal thus far. July 2013 saw 12.7 inches of rain hit the airport.

This month will struggle to hit that mark with dry air coming this week. Gibbs said the dry air will likely bring smaller, isolated thunderstorms rather than large swaths of activity.

That should mean clearer skies for most residents, but small storms still present danger to the unsuspecting, Gibbs warned.

“Where there are sunny skies and the storm is just off in the distance, there is still the capability for lightning to strike,” he said.

Lightning can strike 10 or more miles away from a storm, which is why the Weather Service encourages residents to seek shelter at the first signs of thunder rather than waiting for a storm to be directly overhead.

Early Saturday morning, the Weather Service released a hazardous weather outlook for the area, reminding residents to be wary of lightning and isolated street flooding throughout the remainder of the week.

Surprise storms also can cause trouble for drivers, Gibbs said. He recommended that travelers check the radar before hitting the road.

Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky said people get accustomed to the rain as it continues to fall during rain-soaked periods of the year, but he still sees an increase in crashes each time the skies open.

“People need to remind themselves to just slow down ... and make sure their headlights are on,” he said.