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Rainfall just fine, as far as it went

But Hernando County's rainfall totals are still very much below normal, with little help so far during the drought.

By ROBERT KING

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 2, 2001


It was a glorious rain.

Depending on your corner of the county, anywhere from 2 to 4 inches fell between Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon. By itself, the rain was enough to push Hernando County above the normal rainfall for typically dry January.

It was so welcome that the folks at the Hernando County Fair didn't mind that it rained on their fun. "The drought here is pretty serious," said fair treasurer Chuck Smith. "If we can get some water we're going to take it."

However, the drenching had about as much impact on Florida's 2-year-old drought as spitting in the Gulf of Mexico. Hernando County's 2000 rainfall amount was below normal by more than a foot. And the Floridan Aquifer, the underground sea that provides the state's drinking water, is still nearly 3 feet below the low end of the normal range.

"The rain is very welcome, but it is definitely not a drought buster," said Eric Oglesby, a forecaster with the National Weather Service."

The rain was the product of a weather front that stalled over the coast from an area that spanned from Cedar Key to northern Pasco County.

The front lingers, offering us a 40 percent chance of rain today. Its remnants could offer some scattered showers again Sunday, Oglesby said. But the area is not likely to get a repeat of Wednesday's soaking anytime soon.

At least for the moment, the rainfall took a small bite out of the area's wildfire threat. Burn bans and lawn watering limits remain in place.

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