1,000-Year Deluge: Florida’s Rainfall Shatters Historical Records

Florida Rainfall 2024 Annotated

This map shows rainfall accumulation around Florida for the 24-hour period starting at 00:00 Universal Time on June 11 (8 p.m. local time on June 10).

Moisture-laden tropical air brought intense downpours and flooding to the southern part of Florida, breaking multiple records on June 11 and causing widespread flooding, with continued rain expected.

In June 2024, southern Florida experienced unprecedented rainfall due to a plume of moisture from the western Caribbean. This event, which is only expected to occur once every 500 to 1,000 years, resulted in record-breaking daily precipitation on June 11, flash floods, and significant disruptions, including numerous flight delays and cancellations. Rainfall records were shattered in cities like Sarasota, Fort Myers, and Naples, with remote sensing data from IMERG indicating substantial accumulations, which continued to pose risks for further flooding.

Record-Breaking Rainfall in Southern Florida

A plume of moisture from the western Caribbean delivered heavy rainfall to parts of southern Florida, particularly along its Gulf Coast, in June 2024. Intense precipitation from a slow-moving storm system triggered flash flood warnings and inundated roadways, while several cities set new daily precipitation records for June 11. Statistically, an event this severe should only occur once every 500 to 1,000 years, said meteorologists.

The map above shows rainfall accumulation for the 24-hour period starting at 00:00 Universal Time on June 11 (8 p.m. local time on June 10). These data are remotely-sensed estimates that come from IMERG (the Integrated Multi-Satellite Retrievals for GPM), a product of the GPM (Global Precipitation Measurement) mission, and may differ from ground-based measurements. For instance, IMERG data are averaged across each pixel, meaning that rain-gauge measurements within a given pixel can be significantly higher or lower than the average.

Localized Impact and Record Measurements

Some of the highest rainfall totals were recorded in coastal Sarasota County. A National Weather Service (NWS) station in Sarasota measured 6.5 inches (16.5 centimeters) of rain for the 24 hours of June 11 (local time), breaking that date’s record of 2.5 inches, set in 1940. Nearby locations saw up to 10 inches that day, according to NWS Tampa Bay. The rain was intense at times; a record 3.9 inches fell in one hour around 7 p.m. local time at the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport, toppling the previous hourly rainfall record by nearly an inch. Normal precipitation for the entire month of June is 7 inches.

Further Rain Predicted Amidst Previous Records

Farther south along the coast, Fort Myers and Naples set new records for precipitation on June 11. Miami verged on record-rainfall territory, according to NWS measurements, and the inclement weather caused hundreds of flight delays and dozens of cancellations at the Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports, according to news reports.

Forecasters called for bouts of heavy rainfall and a risk of localized flash flooding across Florida over the next several days as tropical moisture continues to stream in and converge with a stationary front to the north. The rain brought some relief to drought conditions that had developed across central and south Florida.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using IMERG data from the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) at NASA/GSFC.

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