lowering water levels

The dry season has predictably low rainfall totals and has left area water bodies dry, including Lake Henderson. Rainfall amounts will increase as the summer rainy season approaches.

Citrus County has pretty much seen no rain the entire month of March and it’s caused lake levels to be about 1 foot lower than this time last year.

And just in the last few weeks, those levels have declined 4.5 inches, said Dr. Mark Fulkerson, senior professional engineer with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

With no significant rain in sight, they are sure to get lower.

“We can expect lake levels to continue to drop over the next two to three months as our dry season continues,” Fulkerson said. “Since 2017, we really haven’t had much of a dry season (thanks to above average rainfall). That could change this year because we’re currently on track to see water levels drop much lower, before summer rains can fill them back up again.”

From January to March, the county has received 3 inches of rain, 30% of the historical average of 9.8 inches for those first three months of the year.

“Low rainfall coupled with warmer temperatures is now causing our region’s water levels to decline at a faster rate than we’ve seen in awhile,” Fulkerson said.

The National Weather Service shows no sign of rain in Citrus County until Tuesday, and that’s only a 20% chance.

The record heat that Citrus County has been experiencing — with temperatures in the low 90s — should also continue through the weekend.

The fire danger for this area remains moderate.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com.

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