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First Coast

Heavy March rains doused the drought

Brynn Anderson

Exceptionally heavy rainfall in March has relieved signs of a drought in much of Northeast Florida.

Rainfall averaged 7.03 inches in March across the St. Johns River Water Management District — almost twice as much rain as normal.

After a very dry February, several strong storms marched through Northeast Florida in the weeks to follow, months before the rainy season begins.

Rainfall for the past 12 months now totals 54.22 inches, 3.21 inches above the long-term average, the SJRWMD said.

St. Johns River Water Management District

Groundwater levels in the Upper Floridan aquifer at the end of March were a mix of high and normal conditions across the district. Water levels in many of the wells increased more than 10 percentage points.

Conditions remain dry in many other parts of Florida, particularly Southwest Florida and the western Panhandle, the National Weather Service says.

Collier County, including Naples, is experiencing a severe drought, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts drought conditions will ease in Florida and up the Southeast Coast of the U.S. through June.

Florida has a 50% to 60% chance of above-average temperatures this spring, NOAA says, but average rainfall.