August rains fell heavier inland than on coast

MANATEE — As August closed out, many of the ditches in East Manatee were full of water, bringing them nearly level to State Road 64 and State Road 70.

So was it a record month for rain?

No, far from it, according to the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

Manatee County’s official rain gauge at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport recorded only 4.94 inches, about half of the normal 9.43 inches, said meteorologist Paul Close.

“The airport just didn’t get rain,” Close said. “There was more rainfall inland.”

But Lakewood Ranch recorded 9.3 inches in August, and Ellenton recorded 11.98 inches, said Josh Linker, a meteorologist for BayNews9.

“It will all end up averaging out,” Linker said.

Gary Reeder, who raises tomatoes in the Duette area, said for him it was wetter in June and July than August. He has recorded 52.4 inches since May 12.

“I’m already over my annual rainfall amount,” Reeder said.

Farmers in the Myakka area had more rain in August than fell in Duette, Reeder said.

“We’re out of the drought. We’re where we should be,” Reeder said.

Ralph Garrison, president of the Manatee County Farm Bureau, said he has not heard of farmers having any major problems, although some have had to juggle their schedule for laying plastic for crop preparation.

“It’s the typical summer rains,” Garrison said.

Chase Van Nostrand, duty officer for the Florida Division of Forestry, said the ground has been saturated throughout East Manatee, sharply reducing the threat of wildfire.

James A. Jones Jr., editor, can be contacted at 708-7916.