Mon October 31, 2011
Forecast: Dry, then wet, then dry
By A Treasure Coast Essay
Fort Pierce, FL – Not long ago, it was too dry on the Treasure Coast. Then, in October, it was too wet. Soon it's supposed to be too dry. You'll recall that back in the spring, brush fires were burning hundreds of acres in rural Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties. We were urged to refrain from building campfires. During much of October, you could not have started a campfire with a blowtorch. By October 19th, a record 17 inches of rain had fallen during the month on Indian River County, five times more than normal. Harvesting of citrus in Indian River and northern St. Lucie counties was delayed to let the trees dry out. Heavy winds teamed up with the rain to damage sand dunes and erode beaches. So much fresh water was flushed into the Indian River Lagoon that naturalists fear many fish were stressed and will die prematurely. It may be hard to believe, but the dry season officially began October 20th, based on a formula that takes into account the dew point and other factors. Forecasters say it's likely we will have another drier-than-normal dry season, which lasts until mid-May. They blame it on La Nina, a weather system in the Pacific that produces dry conditions in the American southeast. So the chances of brush fires will be high. Oh, no! Here we go again! For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.
Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.