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Clouds bring only a rain check

Published April 5, 2006

TAMPA - The dark clouds swirled ominously above Tampa Bay on Tuesday morning. Could it be? It sort of looked like ... rain.

Tampa's last taste of rain came Feb. 26. It was only 0.4 of an inch. St. Petersburg's most recent rainfall came March 23 - a whopping 0.04 of an inch.

On Tuesday morning, clouds teased. Car hoods felt damp. But did the minuscule moisture count as rain?


"There were some sprinkles or light drizzle but nothing of importance," said Barry Goldsmith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

It looks like it's going to be dry for a bit longer, Goldsmith said. The forecast for the region is dry until at least Saturday.

One person wishing for a good downpour is Jo Anne Hartzler, president of the Tampa Bay Orchid Society.

Hartzler, an avid gardener, sounded gloomy as she assessed the weather's impact on her plants.

"Ferns aren't doing so well," she said. "There's a really cute little heart fern that really needs a drink."

She's been so busy lately with the Tampa Bay Orchid Society's Tropical Celebration show that she hasn't had a lot of time for extra watering. It would take at least a couple of hours to water all the parched plants, she said.

On the upside, she said, the dry weather helps her sort out the high-maintenance plants - pitcher plants and hydrangeas - from sturdy survivalists like bromeliads and hibiscus.

"I haven't continued to water them so I've found out what will survive and what doesn't," she said.

--Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 813 226-3373 or

[Last modified April 5, 2006, 08:59:43]

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