After soggy July, August brought dry heat

The Ungaro family, from left, Eliana, 8, Ricardo, 5, Ricardo, father, Ethen, 10, and Caleb, 6, wait for youngest brother Ezra, 2, to throw them a water toy at Westside Pool on Monday. The family, including mother Alison, not pictured, came out to pool, at the request of the kids, to swim during Labor Day. Ricardo said after the pool they plan to grill out and maybe walk a trail or two if it doesn't rain.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, September 2, 2013 at 4:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 2, 2013 at 4:57 p.m.

The weather is weird.

July set a record for the wettest month Gainesville has ever seen. And now it looks as though August was one of the more parched.

“It's either monsoon season or it's dry,” said Cody Galligan, co-owner of Siembra Farm in southeastern Gainesville.

Gainesville got only 2.8 inches in August, following a 16.65-inch soaking in July, the National Weather Service reported. Not quite a record low, it's still 3.59 inches below the average of 6.39 inches, according to measurements taken at the Gainesville Regional Airport.

Galligan said the drier weather gave the soil a chance to dry out after being inundated for a month, which was good for his crop of sweet potatoes.

“We had an issue with caterpillars,” he said. “They've mellowed out a little bit.”

As dry as it was in Gainesville, surrounding areas in North Central Florida saw rain, said Matt Zibura, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.

“It was hit or miss,” Zibura said Monday.

It was so hit or miss that Ocala recorded 9.3 inches of rain in August, High Springs reported 8.42 inches for the month and Starke had just over 5 inches.

Strong fronts across North Florida and southern Georgia kept the thunderstorms at bay in Gainesville, fellow meteorologist Zaaron Allen said. “There were lots of formidable thunderstorms to the north,” he said.

The weather is expected to shift during the first week of September, Zibura said, with a chance of afternoon showers each afternoon. By mid-afternoon, we get a chance of thunderstorms, with highs near 90 and lows in the mid-70s.

Don't expect to get much relief from the swelter, however. The average for September is a high of 89 compared with an August average high of 90.1, and the heat indices — the combination of temperature and humidity — are going to make it feel like 105.

“It's not really cooling off yet,” Zibura said. Gainesville residents won't begin to feel relief from the heat until October, he said.

Zibura recommends people be careful if they wander outdoors, and carry water with them. Also be sure not to leave pets outside. “They should have water, too,” he said.

Galligan said he's looking forward to seeing more consistent weather patterns after the ups and downs of the past few years.

“We really need to have a balance,” he said.

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