Drought returns - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Drought returns

By Chuck Weber email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)-If you think you're having a tougher time keeping your lawn green, you're right. That sound of crunching grass beneath your feet is a sign Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast are once again experiencing a drought.

Friday the South Florida Water Management District held a briefing on the dry conditions at its headquarters in West Palm Beach. Deputy Director Chip Merriam and Susan Sylvester confirmed the region is in the throes of drought conditions. They say since the dry season began in November, an average of just two-and-a half inches has fallen in the District, a fourth of normal and the third driest dry season since 1932.

Local homeowners are noticing. "Usually the cold fronts will help to bring in a little bit of moisture, but we haven't seen that," commented Michael Groth, who lives near West Palm Beach. "It's been so dry," he said.

Most of Groth's lawn looks green and pristine. But where one of his sprinkler head has broken, the grass has turned brown. "We've got a few rough spots, as you can see," said Groth. "If you don't water, you don't have any green grass right now."

And homeowners like Groth could expect more of the same. Water managers say the La Nina pattern that's brought so little rain so far this winter, is likely to continue as the days get longer and hotter.

That's why water managers stressed residents should obey the twice-a-week lawn watering restrictions now in place, to avoid tougher cutbacks later.

Groth and his neighbors live on a lake, which serves as a source for their irrigation water. Groth says he's trying to limit his watering to once a week, to preserve what's in the lake.

"We can only hope we don't get it all at one time with the hurricanes, but any rain at all would help right now," said Groth.

A two-year long drought ended only this past August-- almost overnight-- thanks to Tropical Storm Fay. But since mid-October, water managers say very little rain has fallen.

Water manager Merriam said, "Even with some of the tragic flooding that occurred in the north and eastern portion of our district, without Fay, there's not a lot of rain on either side of that to get us through long term."

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