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South Florida and the Treasure Coast experiencing abnormally dry conditions as Lake Okeechobee levels stay low

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U.S. Drought Monitor

Parts of South Florida and the Treasure Coast are experiencing abnormally dry conditions as recorded by the U.S. Drought Monitor this week.

Abnormally dry conditions could be found in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, Monroe, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties. Smaller pockets of dry conditions are observed in Osceola, Polk, Highlands, Glades and Hendry counties. Additionally, there are pockets of moderate drought in Indian River and Brevard counties. As compared to last week, these abnormally dry conditions expanded inland.

The update cites multiple reasons for the dryness. Record warm August temperatures in South Florida, combined with rainfall deficits, play a role in current drought conditions. Below normal rainfall since the beginning of this year has led to low inflows into Lake Okeechobee, leading to falling water levels. Water levels haven't risen as expected this rainy season, so water management could be in seen in the future. Additionally, the update cites the lack of local rainfall from tropical storm systems, after the Atlantic saw an unusually quiet August.

Not much is expected to change over the next week, as the usual scattered thunderstorms remain in the forecast. Abnormally dry conditions can contribute to small brush fires and vegetation browning. Voluntary water conservation may be requested.

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