Rainy Monday

Summer rain is great for lawns but it's the dry months that has residents concerned about once-a-week watering restrictions.

Rainy season in Citrus County has started with a bang.

Halfway through June, the county has already received more rain than the entire month of May.

And for good measure, there’s also a tropical storm swirling around in the Gulf of Mexico that forecasters are keeping an eye on.

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Susanna Martinez Tarokh, spokeswoman with the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), said Citrus County had 5.81 inches of rain the first 15 days of June — well below the average 7.75 inches for that period.

In all of May, the county logged just 0.35 inches.

As of Tuesday, Citrus has received about 75% of the historical average rainfall for June, Tarokh said.

The low numbers are not surprising, given that May is typically a dry month.

From May 1-31, 2020, Citrus County had 2.10 inches. From June 1-15 the same year, 5.56 inches fell.

Meanwhile, even though it is early into hurricane season — which began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30 — there has been an uncharacteristic amount of activity in the warm tropical waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.

The United States has already had its second named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Bill, which formed off the North Carolina Coast on Monday but dissipated Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday, a tropical system gained strength in the western Gulf and could become Tropical Storm Claudette by the weekend.

Tarokh said the system should remain west of the state and deliver the most rain to the central Gulf Coast.

“Of course that could change,” she said. “It possibly may enhance flow of moisture into the Gulf Coast of Florida, which would enhance our normal summertime rains.”

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com. To see more of his stories, visit  tinyurl.com/y6kb23vv.