Central Florida is suffering the worst drought in a century, with some of the lowest recorded levels of rainfall ever.
Orlando, according to the National Weather Service, did not receive any rain in April, without any significant precipitation since February. Orlando recorded only 3.18 inches of rainfall so far in 2017, as measured by the city’s rain gauge at Orlando International Airport. That’s the same level recorded in 1907, and nearly close to May 10, 1898, record of 2.64 inches.
The next opportunity for rain, possibly this weekend, “doesn’t look all that good,” the weather service’s Derrick Weitlich told the Orlando Sentinel. A lack of rain leads to lower groundwater levels for Central Florida, as well as the Floridan Aquifer – which supplies most of the region’s drinking water.
Extreme drought conditions increase the chances of brush fires, as more than 125 wildfires have been burning across Florida this week.
U.S. Drought Monitor, which aggregates reports from government and academic experts, shows areas designated as extreme drought expanding throughout the state, from 3,600 square miles to 5,400 square miles as of Thursday.