Record Manatee County rainfall coming to an end

toconnor@bradenton.comSeptember 26, 2013 

MANATEE -- Mother Nature turns off the spigot Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, after setting two Manatee County rainfall records in three days.

Each of the two records had stood for more than 50 years.

"I would say Wednesday is the last wet day of the week," said Bryan Mroczka, National Weather Service meteorologist. "It was a pretty widespread rainfall event. It looks like we ranged anywhere from 3 to 4 inches in far eastern Manatee County with localized amounts of 7 to 8 inches over toward the coast."

Wednesday was the second day of record September rainfall in the last three. The 1.92 inches that fell Wednesday topped the 1.7 inches that fell Sept. 25, 1962.

Tom Dougherty, National Weather Service meteorologist, said the Monday record of 3 inches trumped the 2.67 inches that fell Sept. 23, 1947.

After three cloudy days of intermittent showers, mixed with the occasional thunderstorm, a break is in sight.

Thursday will have scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 2 p.m., before the afternoon turns partly sunny with a high near 88. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent but rainfall

will be scant with amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, possibly more in thunderstorms.

Thursday night will be partly cloudy with a low around 75. Chance of precipitation dips to just 10 percent.

For the first time all week, no rain is expected to fall on a mostly sunny Friday with a high near 88. Friday night lows will reach 71.

Saturday, too, will be mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent from isolated showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m. Saturday night's low will hit 70.

A mostly sunny Sunday completes the ideal weekend forecast with a high near 88 and low near 70.

All this recent rain has only inflicted moderate flooding on Manatee County streets, a little more so in Sarasota County, but pooled water in flooded areas has drained within two or three hours in most cases.

Even as rain is expected to taper off, the National Weather Service continues the "moderate" flood warning for the Manatee River at Rye Bridge through Saturday. The river is expected to crest at 13.3 feet just after midnight Thursday more than 2 feet above the 11-foot flood stage.

Moderate flooding is forecast for the bridge area. At 12.8 feet, water reaches the roadbed of the Rye Bridge.

The last time the Manatee River rose this high it crested at 14.1 feet June 26, 2012.

Rainfall totals year-to-date are at 50.56 inches compared with normal levels of a little more than 44.6 inches.

"We're just shy of 6 inches above normal, Mroczka said. "That 50 inches is pretty impressive considering we had a dry winter."

Mroczka said beachgoers lured back to the sands by the sun's reappearance should beware the possibility of strong riptides.

Summer temps will remain even as the rain departs, Mroczka said.

"We still don't see a real fall-like period in the extended forecast," he said. "It will be a little drier than it has been with temps well in the 80s and approaching 90s."

Terry O'Connor, night metro editor, can be reached at 941-745-7040 or e-mail toconnor@bradenton.com.

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