It is mid-afternoon in Tallahassee and the clear blue sky suddenly unleashes a furious rainfall. Minutes later, the storm clears and once again the sun beats down on the perpetually soggy city.
Florida weather has long been called sporadic. Some residents joke that if you don’t like the weather in Florida, give it five minutes and it will clear. Yet, Mark Wool, a senior forecaster for the National Weather Service in Tallahassee for 13 years has noticed a particular pattern in Florida’s weather.
“Over the last couple of decades, it has gotten drier,” Wool said. “We have had more drought years than non-drought years. We are experiencing more cold cold and hot hot.”
Last year’s summer broke the record for the hottest summer in Florida, Wool said. The previous heat record was set in the summer of 2010. Wool said the weather for the state of Florida is becoming more extreme with steadily hotter summers and colder winters.
In any city, weather has its affects on the residents. With the increasing summer heat and the long-standing drought, some residents find the prospect of staying in Florida difficult to fathom. For some, comfort is the most important thing and the desire to be comfortable can lead to residents moving away.
“I mean, I really don’t like the heat in Florida. I didn’t like it when I was 12 and I definitely don’t like it now,” said Lara Diaz-Jimenez, 23, a senior pre-med student at Florida State from Marianna, Fla. “The hotter the weather gets the more I’m certain I’m moving as soon as I graduate.”
Other Tallahassee residents think it is up to the people to cope with the change weather that has affected the area.
“I believe we are seeing a change in weather patterns and should get used to the new norms,” said Stephen Bochnia, 26, a wed specialist for the Florida Department of Education. “There will probably be more droughts and people should plan accordingly by reducing their water usage.”
While the fire danger remains high, the Big Bend region has not had to deal with a major wildfire in several years. The state of Florida has been in a drought since 1995. Compared to last year, we are less susceptible to fire this year, Wool said.
April and May are the driest months for Florida and the current drought is likely to continue. The amount of rainfall Florida has experienced continues to decrease year after year.
“It is not looking all that great,” Wool said. “We are gradually falling into a great rainfall deficit. It really depends on luck.”