The newest United States Drought monitor came out Thursday morning showing drought conditions expanding across Southwest Florida. The drought monitor is released every Thursday morning. The newest rendition shows moderate drought in Collier, Glades, Hendry, and a small part of Lee County. The rest of Southwest Florida is seeing abnormally dry conditions.
Another way to look at drought is the Keetch-Bryam Drought Index, which is released daily. This shows a measure of soil moisture by using 24hr rainfall data and observed high temperatures. That data is then used to estimate soil moisture. The latest rendition of KBDI has Lee County at critical when it comes to soil moisture. The rest of Southwest Florida is considered very dry.
The combination of both these indices don’t paint a pretty picture for Southwest Florida this dry season. Fort Myers is currently running nearly 2 inches below normal. Naples is currently running just over 1.5 inches below normal.
As the drought worsens this dry season, fire season is expected to pick in intensity. The National Interagency Fire Center is forecasting above normal significant fire potential for all of Florida until June. June is typically when our summer rains return.