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Lack Of Rain Breaks 80-Year Record

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(AP Photo/J. Pat Carter, File)

(AP Photo/J. Pat Carter, File)

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MIAMI (CBS4) – The driest spell in nearly 80 years comes to a close for 16 counties in The Sunshine State.

According to The South Florida Water Management District, from November through February, 16 counties received the least amount of rain since record-keeping commenced in 1932.

Currently, according to the National Weather Service, severe drought conditions exist across South Florida, with the exception of portions of southeast and southwest coastal areas.

Palm Beach County is now under extreme drought conditions.

Of the 3 month arid period, February lacked the most in rainfall with only about one-third of an inch recorded. The district reported that in 2010 the rainfall recorded was far below average, and expected dry conditions to continue throughout 2011.

According to the National Weather Service, Fort Lauderdale is 12.5 inches below normal and Miami is 7.5 inches below normal. West Palm Beach is 12.6 inches below normal.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index puts most of South Florida at a high risk of wildfires, except for Broward County which has a very high wildfire risk.

And don’t expect conditions to improve anytime soon. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center’s long term outlook for South Florida for March through May calls for a 40 to 50 percent chance of below normal precipitation.

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